The Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prince Eze Madumere, has reiterated the commitment of oil producing states to work with development partners to lift indigent Nigerians of Niger Delta extraction out of poverty.
Madumere gave the assurance when he received the Team Leader of the Market Development in the Niger Delta (MADE), Mr Tunde Oderinde, who was in the state to officially launch the N80 million Technology Adoption Grant (TAG) to support palm oil processing, fish smoking and improve harvesting technologies in the region.
The Deputy Governor said the nine states in the Niger Delta; Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers were ever willing to work with development partners, especially DFID in the quest to alleviate poverty in the region.
He said it was for the importance that the Imo State Government attached to the various interventions by development partners that it mandated the state’s Directorate for Employment and Job Creation to lways work closely with stakeholders to ensure that benefitting local governments and communities reap maximum gains from all interventions.
Earlier in his address, the Team Lead of MADE, Mr. Tunde Oderinde said the launch of the N80million Technology Adoption Grant (TAG), was meant to serve as intervention aimed at stimulating performance in select agriculture value chains in the Niger Delta.
Oderinde said the TAG fund which is managed by Market Development in the Niger Delta (MADE) programme of the DFID will be awarded to eligible individuals and enterprises with focus on palm oil processing, fish smoking and improving harvesting technologies through a competitive grant process.
He said the opportunity was open solely to individual businesses and enterprises domiciled and operating in the Niger Delta, explaining that successful bids can receive up to a maximum of N1,100,000.00 (One Million, One Hundred Thousand Naira) depending on the funding window.
Shedding more light on the funding windows available for the grant, Oderinde said the first funding window was for small scale business people with focus on fish smoking.
He said the funding window will give fish smokers access to new fish smoking kilns with its attendant benefits which include safety from fire hazards, improved efficiency (the time it takes to smoke fish), improved smoking capacity and reduction in the cost of doing business.
Oderinde explained that 80 units of 50-75kg kilns, 20 units of 100kg kilns and 4units of 200-250kg kilns were available for Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Edo and Cross River States under the first funding arrangement.
He said for palm oil processing technologies, MADE was working on getting fabricators to collaborate with leading commercial millers to organize demonstrations on the benefits of the use of improved processing technologies and practices targeted at other millers and mill users and farmers, provide good quality machines and also after sale support services.
According to him, the intervention would lead to increased awareness on the benefits of new processing technologies and in turn increase demand for the technologies by millers and mill users, thus leading to increased yields for market actors.
He explained that 80 units of 3 MT/10Hr shift Small Scale Processing Equipment (SSPE) are available for Imo, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Edo and Abia States.
Under the third funding window which is aimed at providing access to improved harvesting technologies, Oderinde said MADE will be intervening with equipment such as adjustable harvester and Malaysian Knife which are capable of increasing the quantity of FFB harvestable from a plantation, as against the current practice of manual climbing which is hazardous and inefficient.
He said 40 units of 140 FFB/day mechanical harvesters (MAH) and 150 units of 70 FFB/day Malaysian Knife were available for Imo, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Edo and Abia States.