George Okoh in Makurdi
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has disclosed that two million Nigerian households are undergoing training on various farming methods in order to increase productivity in farming and moving small-time farmers to commercial level farmers.
Speaking at the presentation of a tractor grant to Mbaikyor MPCS Ltd. by USAID/Market II in Mano, Katsina-Ala Local Government Area, Managing Director of USAID/Market II, Mr. Harvey Schartup disclosed that the Mbaikyor Multi purpose cooperative society won the award after competitive assessments.
He said a key strategy of the Market II was to provide grants to farmers, who are carefully selected with records of good agricultural performances. “We also look at farmers who consider farming as a business; who demonstrate team work and who can serve as model to others,” he said.
Schartup also stated that the donation to the Mbaikyor society was a clear indication that mechanised farming is a way of making Nigerian farmers develop profitable commercial farming activities. “We are providing this tractor not only to support the cooperatives and their members in furthering their own production opportunities but also to allow them to develop a commercial tractor business to service the other farmers in their communities.”
Market II is to provide mechanisation and capacity building grants to 29 high- performing farmer groups across the North, Middle belt and Southern regions of Nigeria.
In his remarks, the Benue State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. James Anbua, represented by the Benue state Project Manager of Benue Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (BNARDA) Mr. James Ker said the development of agriculture cannot be done by government alone, as such the intervention by USAID is a welcome development that should be emulate by others.
He said the Benue government is ready to cooperate with any organisation to uplift the lives of the people of the state.
He urged the farmers to make use of the tractor donated to them by USAID.
Earlier in his welcome address, Managing Director of Egalf Venture Limited, Prof. Lawrence Ega said, as contractors to USAID, the company had been involved in the project from the beginning, adding that the project was aimed at improving agricultural productivity, income, nutrition and the livelihood of the farmers.