From Ahmed Idris Birnin Kebbi
The President, U. S. African Development Foundation (USADF), Mr. C. D. Glin, has said that about 10 million US dollars have been invested in Kebbi State.
This was disclosed yesterday at the launching of Enterprise Investment Programme held at the Presidential Lodge Birnin Kebbi, adding that the U.S. investment was targeted at improving lives of people to remove them from poverty level.
“For the last five years, the USADF has invested over 150 million dollars directly to more than 1,000 associations which had impacted four million lives in Africa.
“We have has been active in Nigeria since 2001 and in the last 10 years, it has invested more than 100 million dollars while hundreds entrepreneurs at the grassroots are growing” he added.
He added that they have invested 10 million dollars in the five years through the MoU in order to provide seed capital and technical assistance to local agribusinesses, while the grants given to the beneficiaries were conditionally attached to improving lives of the people.
He explained further that the states that are been partnering with them are Kano, Kaduna, and Benue while Kebbi is leading the way to increasing USADF investment in Nigeria. “ from Lagos to Niger to FCT, are the leading way. They want to be like Kebbi
The president said that USADF considered the state for the investment because of its needs, leadership and possible momentum, while commending the government for its commitment in improving the lives of the people.
Also speaking, the Executive Director, Diamond Development Initiatives (DDI), Mr Adamu Garba said 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 who are women and youths.
“We have estimated that the eight 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 has received training on USADF accounting policies, procedures and reporting requirements to ensure effective and judicious management of the project funds,” he said.
Garba said that the goal was to first of all, encourage the participating farmer associations to see 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.
He said that after an extensive review process of the applications and proposals by the members of the Programme Consultative Committee (PCC), three commodity value chains were targeted under programme.
“These are rice, groundnut and dairy.”
He said that the DDI would provide timely and quality support to grantees in implementing the projects in accordance with the terms of the grant agreements and to achieve established performance targets.
“In addition, DDI will assist the grantees in forming and operationalising a performance monitoring committee, including providing initial training to the group in participatory performance monitoring,” the director said.
Delivery his remarked, the Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu described the investment in Nigeria as greater value chains, saying it would go beyond the amount.
He said that the people of the state were hardworking, dedicated, waiting for experts to lead them to success.
“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, ” Bagudu said.
Our correspondent gathered that the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was between the U. S. African Development Foundation (USADF) and the Kebbi State Government, marking the commencement of a five-year strategic partnership.