FG wants USAID to invest in cassava, plantain value-chain in South-south

THE Federal Government is seeking interest of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to invest in cassava and plantain value-chain.

Muhammad Nanono, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development speaking at the formal flag-off ceremony of the USAID Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness programme made the call on Thursday in Asaba, Delta State.

He said the identified crops grow well in the South-South states, as such it would help realise USAID agricultural objectives in the country.

It could be recalled that the USAID Feed the Future Programme was launched in 2018 with a total investment valued at $15.7 million. The five years project is meant to empowering 5,000 local small and medium enterprises with credit facilities from designated financial institutions.

Already, Maize, Rice, Cowpea, Soya bean and Aqua Culture have been captured by the project.

The Minister, who was represented by Dr Brooks Michael, however, noted that the recommendations were made based on the region’s soil fertility to cultivate the suggested plants.

According to him, aquaculture which was included in the five value-chains is traditional occupation of the people in the riverine area.

Earlier, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, the state governor disclosed readiness to support the project.

He said the state would create an enabling environment for the programme execution, support the implementation, as part of efforts to discourage youths from online fraud.

“We will create a ‘Yahoo Agriculture’ and make agriculture attractive to the youth rather than have them attracted to the nefarious ‘yahoo yahoo’ practice that compromises their future and that of the society,” Okowa who was represented by Julius Egbede, his commissioner for agriculture stated.

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The USAID Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness focuses on seven states namely Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Kebbi and Niger.

The programme is a United States Government Global Hunger and food security initiative to improve nutrition and food security in Nigeria.

The project has reportedly leveraged on $6 million worth of new private sector investment in 2017 fiscal year.

Nigeria is among 12 other nations benefitting from the global intervention project.

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