10,000 women benefit from agric intervention

NEWSMAN, Abuja – In an attempt to mitigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, about 10,000 Nigerian women are expected to benefit from a two-year agricultural intervention.

With the initiative, over 450 tons of premium maize and rice grains are expected to be added to the Nigerian market to cushion the challenges farmers face due to the pandemic.

Championed by Value Seeds in partnership with MasterCard Foundation, the intervention is also expected to create direct and 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 10,000 women would be selected as direct beneficiaries of the two-year agricultural intervention as part of the COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Intervention Project, the group said yesterday.

It also said in a release that prevailing challenges worsen farmers’ productivity, adding that the “effects of the COVID-19 pandemic aggravate these constraints further by making inputs more expensive and market logistics more tedious for the smallholder farmer.”

Project Lead, Value Seeds, George Kabutha, said the initiative would improve farmers’ yields by providing access to improved seeds, quality crop production inputs, and strengthening their capacity to produce optimally, The Guardian reported.

Country Head, Nigeria, Mastercard Foundation, Chidinma Lawanson, said: “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. 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.”

The move is also projected to re-ignite the Nigerian economy and ensure that food supply chains are enhanced, thereby increasing the economic health of small- holder farmers while improving employment indices.

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