Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi
The President of the United States African Development Foundation (USADF), Mr CD Glin, has disclosed that the agency has invested over $100 million in Nigeria since it started operating in the country.
The agency is also investing about ten million dollars in Kebbi state to dairy, rice and groundnut farmers.
Glin, who stated this on Monday during the courtesy visit of the agency’s team to the Kebbi state governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, at the government house, Birnin Kebbi and the official launching of Enterprise Investment Programme in the state, explained that the US investment was targeted at improving lives of people.
He noted that “for the last five years, the USADF has invested about $150 million directly to more than 1,000 associations in Africa which had impacted positively on four million lives.
“USADF has been active in Nigeria since 2001 and, in the last ten years, it has invested more than 100 million dollars while hundreds of entrepreneurs at the grassroots are growing.”
Glin said that the grants given to the beneficiaries were conditional, attached to improving the lives of the people, stressing that states like Kano, Kaduna and Benue have been in partnership with the agency.
“Kebbi state is leading the way to increasing USADF investment in Nigeria. From Lagos to Niger state to FCT, you are leading the way. They want to be like Kebbi,” he stated.
Glin, who commended the state for its commitment to improving the living standard of its people, said the USADF considered the state for investment because of its priority needs, leadership and potential for momentum.
In his remarks, Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu said that the people of the state are hardworking, dedicated and are waiting for experts to lead them to success from their subsistence farming, dairy and agribusiness.
“We are selling rice to Lagos state, it can be done too by selling rice to New York City, Washington DC. With this opportunity, it will create more opportunities for our people, more income for them and prosperity,” the governor said.
In his speech, the Executive Director, Diamond Development Initiatives, (DDI), Mr Adamu Garba, explained that 10,000 people would benefit from the eight approved proposals for funding support after a rigorous design and compliance review process by the USADF team in Washington DC.
“The eight cooperative associations whose proposals were approved are largely apex associations comprising over 70 affiliate cooperative societies, with a combined membership base of over 1,600 smallholder farmers, herders, processors and marketers among whom are women and youth.
“We have estimated that the 8 projects of two rice, two diary and four groundnuts will positively impact over 10,000 persons as the association will receive funds for procurement of all the required farm inputs.
“All the projects have successfully taken off with initial start-up activities as the staff of each of the cooperatives have received training on USADF accounting policies, procedures and reporting requirements to ensure effective and judicious management of the project funds,” he said.
Garba revealed that the goal was to, first of all, encourage the participating farmer associations to view agriculture as a business rather than as a subsistence activity.
“The project is expected to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit in the beneficiaries. Overall, this is expected to engender an inclusive economic growth in the target communities and the state at large,” he said.