The Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alh Mohammed Sabo Nanono, alongside stakeholders present at the 2nd National Commodity Alliance Forum and Cassava Value Chain Investment Dialogue organised by the FGN/IFAD assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) committed to improving productivity, incomes of smallholder farmers and market access/opportunities for the Cassava Value Chain.
The event, which held at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja on November 26th was themed “Enhancing Productivity and Market Opportunities for Cassava Value Chain Development”, with the overarching aim of improving the livelihood of poor rural households engaged in the cassava ecosystem, especially across the Programme States of Anambra, Ebonyi, Benue, Niger, Ogun, Taraba, Kogi, Nasarawa and Enugu.
The Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammed Sabo Nanono who was also representing President Muhammadu Buhari at the event commended the support, contribution and partnerships of the international donors currently providing funding and technical supports to various agriculture and rural development programmes in Nigeria. “Their interventions have significantly contributed to repositioning the sector as a viable business venture among our farmers and entrepreneurs”, he said.
The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Muazu Abdulkadir who also was standing in for the Honourable Minister disclosed that through the CAF arrangement, VCDP rice farmers now realize an average of 5.0MT/h and contribute over 60,000MT of rice and 200,000MT of cassava to the national food basket, representing over N12 Billion contribution to the Country’s GDP. He added that “based on the successes recorded through the CAF model, FMARD plans to upscale it to the National CAF status covering all the States in Nigeria.”
“Farmer organisations, off-takers, development partners, financial institutions, policy makers and governments are now partnering more than ever before to create the necessary synergy and collaboration to ensure sustainable development of this important sector of the Nigerian economy,” stated Mr. Garba Bala, the National Programme Coordinator of the Value Chain Development Programme. “The involvement and support of donor institutions in the agricultural sector has introduced a paradigm shift and repositioned agriculture as a business enterprise”, he added.
The forum also featured special award presentations to the Governors of the nine VCDP States in recognition of their contributions to the Rice and Cassava Value Chain and ended with agricultural stakeholders including the Government, Development Partners, Financial Institutions, Service Providers, Farmer Organisations, Off-Takers and Civil Society Organisations pledging commitments to enhancing the productivity, processing and marketing activities of operators in the cassava value chain on a sustainable basis.