The Ebonyi State Government on Tuesday signed a $40 million Memorandum of Understanding with the United States Agency for International Development for further Agricultural development in the State.
The MoU was powered under the USAID Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity, which is aimed at cultivating new frontiers in agriculture in Nigeria.
Performing the activity at the Executive Council Chambers annex, Government House, Abakaliki, the USAID representative and Managing Director, Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment, Adam Saffer, noted that Ebonyi State was chosen as one of the target States for the programme based on its enormous potentials in rice, maize and other focus value chain Agro products.
Saffer praised the passion of Governor David Umahi towards agricultural development in the State as a means of job creation as well as women and youth empowerment, assuring that the USAID was pleased to partner with him to achieve his desired goals in the sector.
Saffer said: “We have the honour to meet with the Governor, Chief Dave Umahi, this morning about his commitment to the agricultural sector and he was passionate about the improvement in agricultural production as a means of creating employment and empowering the youths and the women for the overall good of the State and his government.
“So we are pleased and proud to be a partner, and we will be establishing our office in the State in the next few months.”
He further explained that the primary objectives of the Feed the Future project were improving the agribusiness enabling environment, expanding access to Agribusiness finance and facilitating agribusiness investment.
Explaining further on terms of the MoU, the State coordinator of IFAD value-chain programme, Dr. Sunday Ituma, said the State’s contribution in terms of counterpart was to provide enabling environment for the implementation of the programme: accommodation, security, staff and logistics facilities to ensure its success while the funding would be undertaken by USAID.
Ituma explained: “The project portfolio in terms of funding is $300 million, but the project is being implemented in seven States in Nigeria.
“So the portion that Ebonyi State will likely get is about $40 million.
“The programme will tap from the existing structures in the State: the IFAD, FADAMA and others because we have farmers already profiled as well as women and youths which are the main targets of the programme.”
Speaking to newsmen shortly after, the Special Assistant to Governor Umahi on Small and Medium Enterprises, Ann Aligwe, regretted that Ebonyi State had not taken full benefit of the available USAID funded programmes inspite of many years of its presence in Nigeria.
Aligwe extolled the Governor’s political will which enabled her attract the programme for the State.
The Attorney General and commissioner for Justice, Cletus Ofoke, signed on behalf of the State Government while Saffer signed for the USAID.