NIGERIA – Value Seeds, an indigenous crop seed production solution and development company has launched COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Intervention Project in Nigeria in partnership with Mastercard Foundation.

The two-year agriculture intervention program aimed to mitigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to run for two years and benefit 10,000 women, indicates Value Seeds.

“We intend to improve farmers’ yields by providing access to improved seeds, quality crop production inputs, and strengthening their capacity to produce optimally.”

George Kabutha – Project Lead, Value Seeds

Its main objective is to significantly increase the volume of premium maize and rice grains in the market by about 450,000 tons, increasing farmers earnings.

In addition, it will create indirect jobs in the crop value chain, including input dealers, farm labourers, transporters, logistic officers, marketers’ off-takers, feed millers, and staff in the agro-processing industry.

”The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have aggravated constraints affecting farmers’ productivity by making inputs more expensive and market logistics more tedious for the smallholder farmer.

“We intend to improve farmers’ yields by providing access to improved seeds, quality crop production inputs, and strengthening their capacity to produce optimally,” said George Kabutha, Project Lead, Value Seeds.

Through this intervention, Value Seeds contributes to re-igniting the Nigerian economy and ensure food supply chains enhancement, thereby increasing the economic health of small- holder farmers while improving employment indices.

”Value Seeds advocate that a bottoms-up agricultural transformation is the best path to inclusive economic growth to build the resilience of the Nigerian population,” said Chidinma Lawanson, Country Head Nigeria, Mastercard Foundation.

“The goal of the project is in alignment with the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program, which focuses on the provision of direct support to companies in the agricultural value chain, specifically to ensure that smallholder farmers have access to markets and to maintain food security,” she added.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has put the rice production gap in Nigeria at 500,000 metric tonnes.

It, however, stated that the country would soon close the gap and meet the seven million metric tonnes production capacity required to attain self-sufficiency.

The Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Karima Babaginda, disclosed this while receiving inputs from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency.

JICA provided the inputs to support 1,500 rice smallholders in nine states of the federation in its first phase support to Nigeria.

According Babaginda, with the support of JICA and other donor agencies, Nigeria would not only be self-sufficient in rice production but would soon be a major exporter, being the largest producer of rice in Africa currently.

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