UK agric programme generates N11.4 billion

UK agric programme generates N11.4 billionThe Convention on Business Integrity(CBI), a United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) supported agriculture project, has generated 25 million pounds Sterling (about N11.4 billion).

In addition, it has enhanced the productivity of about 500,000 farmers across the country.

This was achieved through Business Innovation Facility (BIF), its market systems development project that focuses on introducing business innovations that enable small holder farmers overcome productivity constraints across a portfolio of markets.

Speaking in Lagos yesterday at a forum to showcase opportunities in the agriculture value chain, its Country Director,  Soji Apampa said the target of the programme was to reach 160,000 farmers in five years. He said in the last four years, the programme has exceeded its target and boosted economic opportunities and community transformation.

According to him, BIF’s work in the cassava and maize industry has led to significant efficiency gains in cultivation processing and value addition.

He said BIF has been working in partnership with innovative businesses and organisations in cassava to improve their access to quality cassava from smallholder farmers. This has involved deploying a portfolio of intervention approaches that are interlinked, embed access to markets, and provide some level of financing and good practice to producers

This, he added, has led to an increase in economic opportunities, new jobs and a consistent income for rural households.

He continued that BIF is continuing to identify constraints, such as the limited value addition in the market. These include processing and shelf-life extension of products.

He explained that Nigerian farmers can now access extension and advisory services related to weed control, best planting practices and other aspects of cassava production.