Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State has called on the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Bank and the Federal Government to jointly support women small-holder farmers in the state.
Sule made the call on Tuesday when he played host to Hajiya Fatima Mukhtar-Buhari, the Market Enterprise Development Advisor of the Federal Government of Nigeria/IFAD Value Chain Development Programme Nigeria, and her team at Government House, Lafia.
According to the governor, IFAD’s support can go a long way toward value chain addition because Nasarawa State being predominantly agrarian, is also a commercial agriculture drive of the present administration.
The governor added that the inclusion of Nasarawa State among the nine states that will benefit from IFAD’s intervention, was not by accident.
According to him, the state has the agricultural potential to take over from Benue as the food basket of the country.
“By the time most of our commercial agricultural programmes , as well as the small holder farming programmes are fully incubated, Nasarawa State will take over from Benue as the food basket of the nation.
“The state will require support in the areas of value chain addition by the time the Dangote Sugar Refinery in Awe Local Government Area, covering 68 hectares of land becomes operational.
“Also, when the 10, 000 hectares of land in Doma being developed by Olams Food start operating, the state will require support for our growers who are mostly women.
“We want IFAD and the World Bank to support the women, because women are excellent farmers of rice,” the governor said.
According to him, it is the practice around the world, particularly in Thailand and in India, that women can also play key role as out growers.
The governor added that IFAD, the Federal Government and the World Bank could come together and support women in the state.
Earlier, Hajiya Mukhtar-Buhari said that Nasarawa State was selected by IFAD among eight states because of its enormous agricultural potential and its support for small, medium and large scale businesses.
She said the visit was part of the implantation support mission of IFAD and value chain development programme.
According to her, this focuses on enhancing of productivity and profitability of small-holder farmers and small scale agro processors by improving their access to market and capacity.
She said that of the 63 local government areas across the selected nine states, 100,000 households, 91,000 small holders farmers, 8,000 processors and 1000 traders would benefit from the intervention, aimed at reducing poverty.