DFID moves to improve productivity of 15,000 farmers

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Anna Okon

The collaboration between the Business Innovation Facility, a Department for International Development-funded market systems development programme, and the West African Soy Industries Limited is expected to enhance the productivity of about 15,000 maize and soy farmers in Katsina and Kaduna states.

This was made known during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two companies in Katsina.

With the signing of the MoU, BIF will provide WASIL with technical assistance in the area of data capturing and building data base of farmers and cooperatives in maize and soy.

The partnership between WASIL and BIF is aimed at improving the productivity of maize and soy farmers in Nigeria.

BIF is a DFID-funded market systems development five-year programme aimed at improving the lives of the poor in three countries: Malawi, Myanmar and Nigeria.

WASIL is a sister company to West African Cotton Company Limited, a member of the GI Group.

In a statement, the General Manager, Corporate Affairs, TGI Group, Mr. Sadiq Kassim, was quoted as saying that WASIL was currently working with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development and the Central Bank of Nigeria under the Food Security Programme of the Federal Government to improve the productivity of maize and soy farmers in a replicable manner.

He added that the company had commenced the setting up of a large oil milling facility in Nigeria to provide off-take of soybeans from out-grower farmers while its affiliate company, CHI Farms, will procure maize for its feed milling activities from the out-grower farmers as well.

He said, “WASIL’s target is to reach 14,000 farmers in Katsina and 1,000 farmers in Kaduna in both maize and soy value chains, making it a total of 15,000 farmers during the current cropping calendar.”

“While WASIL/WACOT is expected to provide its current database of existing cooperatives which had been formed earlier, BIF will support the group in designing a pre-assessment survey form to assess the farmers’ socio –economic conditions, determine the sample size and assist with getting the same administered on ground.

“BIF will also provide the required Information Technology support and database software and trained field staff to conduct registration of 15,000 new farmers while also conducting farm mapping and re-validation of database of farmers collected by WASIL staff and provide continuous supportive supervision.”

It quoted the Managing Director, WACOT Limited, Mr. Ujwalkanta Senapati, as saying that WASIL and BIF through the collaboration would create new farmers’ associations and cooperatives alongside expansion of existing cooperatives.

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