Value Seeds, in partnership with Mastercard Foundation, has launched a two-year agricultural project to benefit 10,000 women in Nigeria.
The project is part of Mastercard Foundation’s Covid-19 Recovery and Resilience intervention aimed at helping farmers recover from the adverse impact of the pandemic.
Smallholder farmers, who make up 80 percent of farmers in Nigeria, have been projected to be more vulnerable to the greater scourge of the virus.
According to the Value Seed Project Lead, George Kabutha, the intervention aims to provide support for smallholder farmers by helping them improve their farm yields with improved seeds.
‘At Value Seeds, we understand that women and, particularly young women, face multiple constraints when acquiring training and empowerment opportunities as well as accessing credit, which are major constraints affecting farmers’ productivity’, the foundation quoted Kabutha as saying.
‘The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic aggravate these constraints further by making inputs more expensive and market logistics more tedious for the smallholder farmer.
‘We intend to improve farmers’ yields by providing access to improved seeds, quality crop production inputs, and strengthening their capacity to produce optimally’.
The programme, according to a Mastercard Foundation statement, is expected to significantly increase the volume of premium maize and rice grains in the market by about 450,000 tons.
‘It will also create indirect jobs in the crop value chain, including input dealers, farm labourers, transporters, logistic officers, marketers’ off-takers, feed millers, and staff in the agro processing industry’, the statement read.
For her part, head of Mastercard Foundation in Nigeria, Chidinma Lawanson, said Value Seeds’ approach to agricultural transformation in Nigeria was the best path to achieving inclusive economic growth.
‘The goal of the project is in alignment with the Mastercard Foundation Covid-19 Recovery and Resilience Programme, which focuses on the provision of direct support to companies in the agricultural value chain, specifically to ensure that smallholder farmers have access to markets and to maintain food security’, she said.
It is understood that through this intervention, Value Seeds, a Nigerian company established in 2009, can contribute to helping the nation’s economy recover from the Covid-19 setback.
Source: Mastercard Foundation
Photo source: Value Seeds