- USAID: Farmers’ Sales Hit N396b
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Market II project designed to help rural farmers in the country has recorded sales valued at N396 billion in five years, a report presented by the USAID has stated.
The report titled: Maximising Agricultural Revenue and Key Enterprises in Targeted Sites II (MARKET II) was unveiled yesterday in Abuja at the five-year project final event held in Abuja.
USAID Nigeria Mission Director, Mr. Stephen Haykin said about 1.9 million rural households were supported to increase productivity and finance, with special attention on women and youths between ages of 18 to 29.
Haykin explained that the project which commenced in April 2012 and expected to end in October, 2017 was able to link farmers to processors and off-takers, thereby increasing efficiency and reducing post-harvest losses.
He described the market II project as deliberate plan to help realise the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) of the past administration and Green Alternative Policy of the Federal Government, contributing to food security and increasing incomes for rural households.
According to him, the initiative attracted N4.9 billion private sector investment, N13.9 billion public sector investment and N52.9 billion worth of loans with 3,306,399 metric tons in volume of agricultural commodities sold by the benefiting farmers.
Earlier, Managing Director, Market II Project, Harvey Schartup said the intervention was designed to support rural farmers in 25 states working on seven agricultural commodities and its value-chains.
The states include Sokoto, Jigawa, Kano, Kaduna, kebbi, Taraba, Niger, Nasarawa, Benue, Ebonyi, Oyo, Imo, Rivers among others while the commodities are maize, cocoa, cassava, bee keeping, sorghum and others.
He said with the intervention and adoption of improved seeds, participating farmers were able to engage in both wet season and dry season farming, especially in the area of rice.