By Sani Idris
Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), on Wednesday launched an agro-processing centre in Sabon Gari Kahuta, Kauru Local Government Area of Kaduna State, where it forecasted to generate N182,9 million revenue in the first fiscal year.
The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that the Kahuta Multipurpose Processing Venture is an agro- processing centre established as a critical component of the AGRA intervention programme.
The intervention project is tilled: “Enhancing resilience and upscaling of gender inclusive rural economy for increased productivity, livelihoods, and food security.
It is aimed at increasing productivity for 50,000 smallholder women and youths’ farmers, strengthening access to output markets at scale, increasing the capacity of smallholder farming households and value chain actors to better prepare, adapt to shocks and stresses.
The project is being implemented by a consortium coined the AGRA Gender Consortium made up of Value Seeds Limited (VSL) the lead partner of the project with core delivery on production.
Palm Valley Nigeria Limited (PVNL), a member of the consortium, is in charge of implementing the value addition, enterprise development and financial inclusion section, and Legal Awareness for Nigeria Women (LANW) on the advocacycomponent.
Speaking to NAN at the event, the Country Director for AGRA in Nigeria, Mr Rufus Idris, said they were focused on contributing to the progress and sustenance of the inclusive food system transformation happening in the country.
He added that AGRA, Nigeria was poised to ensure accelerated income for smallholder farmers and the public to have access to affordable and nutritious food.
In doing that, he said, it goes beyond supporting the productivity level which they were doing in terms of helping farmers access seeds, knowledge, finance and working with the Government to ensure enabling policies.
Idris, however, said that Nigerians experience a lot of post-harvest losses, which informed the establishment of the agro- processing centre in Kahuta to enable the women to add value to what they are producing.
“It will enable them to add value to what they are producing.
Doing so will increase their income, access a better market that will pay them a premium share of the cost of their produce and help reduce post-harvest losses in the country.
“We ultimately believe that in empowering women, youths and farmers in different areas in the country should take ownership of the whole process of their farm produce from harvests,” he said.
Speaking further, Idris said that situating the agro-processing centre in Kauru was because the farmers there have the comparative advantage of producing rice and maize.
He added that AGRA has been working with the community since 2022 in various areas in enhancing agriculture.
“The women there also operated a savings scheme to raise money to attract financing, we saw the commitment and willingness in them to make sure this happened.
“The processing centre is not purely an AGRA funded project, they also brought in their equity commission to make it work.
,” Idris said.
According to the Country Director, if Nigeria could address hunger and poverty issues, it could impact sub-Saharan Africa, where farming could be the ultimate lead.
He expressed optimism that the project would be sustained, adding that the women underwent training in farming, entrepreneurship and how to manage businesses, financial literacy training among others.
Also, Dr Esther Ibrahim, the Programme Officer for AGRA in Kaduna, explained that the women in Kahuta, were hitherto operating a welfare group.
She said, “They were making contributions for ceremonies, and they embraced Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) as soon as it was introduced.
Ibrahim, who doubles as the Programme Officer overseeing AGRA’s gender consortium intervention in Nigeria, said the women received training on operation and management of VSLA.
She stated that seven groups of 25 members were formed, registered, and linked to financial institutions.
Ibrahim commended the women for their resilience, time, cooperation, and their resources in ensuring that the project was done.
She called on the state government to replicate the project with other LGAs in the state to guarantee food security and ensure self-reliance of the youths and women.
Also, Project Manager of Palm Valley Nigeria Limited (PVNL), Mr Philip Kachina, said that the Kahuta multipurpose processing venture was being managed by a carefully selected and employed team.
He added that the management would be responsible for setting and meeting up targets on a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis, where the day-to-day operations of the organisation will be the responsibility of the cooperating associations.
“This team shall develop products based on the exigency of time, design and set procedures for timely/quality service delivery, effective control of operations, and coordinate all activities carried out by the organization to ensure profitability and sustained growth,” he said.
Kachina also said that like every other business, the agro-processing centre was established to generate income via rice parboiling and milling services, sales of milled rice and packaged byproducts.
Other services are rice de-stoning and polishing services, storage facilities, maize milling services, and revenue through sales of rice husk (briquettes) and a composite of waste to renewable energy.
“The Kahuta multipurpose processing venture is forecast to generate income from those sources because of its strategic location, high performing equipment, well trained managers, and friendly pricing regime.
“The enterprise is projected on all factors being equal such as stable economic growth and strong competitors offering the same services and products with the same location to generate N182.
9 million (USD234,448.
72) in the first fiscal year,” Kachina said.
Speaking on behalf of the women, Mrs Paulina Emmanuel, said women in local communities were now taking up the burden of households and family responsibilities.
She, therefore, pledged that the project, which was achieved through their support and resilience, would not be left abandoned.
Emmanuel thanked AGRA and all the critical stakeholders who ensured the realisation of the project.
NAN reports that the event had in attendance the representatives of the Emir of Kauru and LGA Chairman, the Kaduna Agriculture Development Agency (KADA), Value Seed Limited and Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women (LANW), among other key stakeholders.
Edited by Bashir Rabe ManiShare on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn