The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, has persuaded the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to consider supporting cassava and plantain productions as they flourish immensely in the South-South region.
Nanono stated this at the formal Flag-Off Ceremony of the USAID Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness programme in Asaba, Delta State.
The Minister, who was represented by the South-South Regional Director of the Ministry, Dr Brooks Michael Agbebakhe, stated that the five value chains supported by USAID namely Maize, Rice, Cowpea, Soya bean and Aqua Culture are highly desirable and most adequate for the initiative but he also noted that only aquaculture was most traditional to the region.
He, therefore, appealed to USAID to consider supporting cassava and plantain value chains for the objective of the programme to be fully achieved based on the fertile nature of the soil for the cultivation of these plants in the region.
The 5 years USAID Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness investment programme, which has a total investment value of $15.7m, was launched in December 2018, with an expected impact of empowering 5,000 Nigerian small and medium enterprises with credit facilities from designated financial institutions.
In an earlier remark to flag-off the programme, the Governor of Delta State, who was represented by the Commissioner of Agriculture in the state, Julius Egbede, stated that Delta State will create the enabling environment for the programme execution, support the implementation and create a “Yahoo Agriculture” thereby making agriculture attractive to the youth rather than have them attracted to the nefarious yahoo yahoo practice that compromises their future and that of the society. He also promised to make agriculture an enviable profession that the youths will key into.
USAID Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness focuses on 7 States namely Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Kebbi and Niger. The programme is a United States Government Global Hunger and food security initiative to improve nutrition and food security in Nigeria.