The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has moved to invest in Nigeria’s Agricultural Projects by funding six agricultural commodities value chains with emphasis on rice and yam production to ensure sufficient food supply in Nigeria.
Senior Programme Officer, Agriculture in the West African Office of the Foundation, Dr. Audu Grema, who disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday September 13, highlighted some agricultural projects of the foundation to include CARI-Project (rice) which was aimed at improving rice production productivity, pest control, and variety enhancement.
According to Grema, the rice project by the foundation is currently being implemented in Cross River, Niger, Kebbi, Jigawa, Kano, Plateau and Edo, Ebonyi States.
He also added that the foundation is collaborating with with private farms around Abuja, Kaduna, Niger, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Akure to enhance yam propagation technology through seeds.
“We have a huge portfolio of agricultural investments in Nigeria. We are work[ing] on maize, rice, yam, cassava and crop-livestock interface.
Grema, however said that the Cassava Value Addition Project (CAVA) was based in Abeokuta at the University of Agriculture.
“We have four strategic cassava investments that we think are critical that we are funding across Nigeria. In agriculture, we do not approve projects except if it has a small holder connection.
“Anything we fund must have a connection with enhancing the status of small scale farmers,” Grema said.
The programme officer further informed that Gates Foundation which is the largest private foundation in the world is also working in public health, integrated vaccine delivery, routine immunization revival across many states.
He commended the ‘Green Alternative’ currently launched by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and assured that the foundation would align its programmes with that of the Federal Government to enable the country achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Nigeria’s Agricultural Projects are growing by the day and will soon give the country’s economy a face lift.