NIGERIA – Heifer International, a global development organization that works closely with farmers and local food producers to alleviate hunger and poverty, has appointed Rufus Idris as its new Country Director for its Nigeria operations.

Idris is a seasoned development specialist with cross-cultural experience spanning over 17 years, during which he developed and led innovative economic development programs in Nigeria and the United States.

As Country Director for Heifer Nigeria, he will provide the leadership and strategic focus required to develop and leverage public-private partnerships.

He will also implement market-driven programs that addresses the systemic constraints and stimulating lasting market systems improvements for farmers to attain sustainable living incomes.

In a statement issued by the firm, Senior Vice President for Africa Programs at Heifer International Adesuwa Ifedi said, “Rufus’s proven capacity as an administrator, mobiliser and excellent team player will serve him well in his new role as Country Director for Heifer Nigeria.

“His appointment will deepen Heifer’s interventions and support for Nigeria’s food systems resilience and sustainability agenda.

“I trust that he will provide the much-needed operational acumen required for Heifer International’s transformational journey in the years ahead.”

Prior to joining Heifer International, Idris served as Deputy Chief of Party for the USAID Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity, a five-year program aimed at strengthening the enabling environment for agribusiness finance and investment in five key value chains (rice, cowpea, soy, maize and aquaculture) in the West African country.

He was the Program Director for the UK Department for International Development (DFID) funded project “Promoting Learning in Agribusiness using New Technologies (PLANT)”.

At this stint, he led TechnoServe’s collaboration with DFID and the British Council to develop a more competitive agriculture sector in Nigeria by increasing innovation and uptake of technology within the sector.

He was also the Portfolio Manager for a DFID-funded – Market Development (MADE) Program in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria implemented by Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI).

Heifer’s vision for 2020-2030 is a focused approach for the African Continent to support additional three million smallholder farmers reach a sustainable living income.

As a part of this commitment, Heifer has extended its operations to Nigeria to assist more than one million farmers to reach a sustainable living income by 2030.

This will be achieved through strategic private and public sector partnerships, unlocking demand and market opportunities, leveraging finance across priority value chains, and leveraging innovation and emerging agricultural technologies to reach transformational scale.

“I am excited to join Heifer International as the Nigeria Country Director and to lead its innovative and inclusive in-country programs to end hunger and poverty, leveraging the creativity of our young women and men, new technologies, and strong public-private partnerships to unlock Nigeria’s potential for food sufficiency and sustainable living income,” Idris said.

Idris holds a Master of Science in Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University (Manchester, NH), Executive Education in Performance Measurement for Effective Management of Non-profit Organizations from Harvard University (Cambridge, MA), Bachelors degree in Biology from La Roche University (Pittsburgh, PA), and a Diploma in Fisheries Technology from Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology (Lagos, Nigeria).

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