Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Bill and Melinda Gate foundation to boost rice production in Nigeria

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Tuesday said it was funding six agricultural commodities value chains with emphasis on rice and yam production to ensure food sufficient in Nigeria.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest private foundation in the world, founded by Bill Gates.

Dr Audu Grema, the Senior Programme Officer, Agriculture in the West African Office of the Foundation, said in Abuja on Tuesday.He listed some agricultural projects of the foundation to include CARI-Project (rice) which was aimed at improving rice production productivity, pest control, and variety enhancement.

Grema expressed optimism that Nigeria would soon be self sufficient in rice production.

He said the rice project by the foundation was currently being implemented in Cross River, Niger, Kebbi, Jigawa, Kano, Plateau and Edo, Ebonyi States.

The programme officer, however, said that the Cassava Value Addition Project was based in Abeokuta at the University of Agriculture.

According to him, we also have a big yam project where we are working with private farms around Abuja, Kaduna, Niger, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Akure to enhance yam propagation technology through seeds.

He said, “We have a huge portfolio of agricultural investments in Nigeria. We are work on maize, rice, yam, cassava and crop-livestock interface.

“We have four strategic cassava investments that we think are critical that we are funding across Nigeria.

“In agriculture, we do not approve projects except if it has a small holder connection.

“Anything we fund must have a connection with enhancing the status of small scale farmers.”
He said the agricultural initiative was a step toward fighting poverty and food security in Nigeria.

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