According to the Guardian Nigerian Newspaper,The Federal Government has empowered nine farming communities with N7 million agribusiness seed funds meant to improve its existing agricultural enterprises, boost their incomes and improve on their standards of living.
The communities are Otukpa, Orokam, and Owukpa in Ogbadibo local government area of Benue State. Others are Umaisha in Toto LGA and Bassa in Kokona LGA, Nasarawa State.
In Oyo State, Igbope, Modeke, and Oba-Ago in Oorelope LGA are the beneficiaries. The communities in each of Benue and Nasarawa got N2 million each and the ones in Oyo State got N3 million. Business accounts were opened in the names of the communities, groups within the communities and individuals within the groups for accountability, profits sharing, monitoring and evaluation, ARMTI disclosed.
Before now, the Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute’s (ARMTI’s) Village Alive Development Initiative (VADI) was domiciled in Kwara State. The model is now extended to additional states of Oyo, Nasarawa, and Benue. Most Nigerian farmers are smallholders and rural community dwellers. Consequently, the level of operations is low, challenges are many, the average yield is low and post-harvest losses are common.
If Nigeria would boost its agriculture, diversify its economy and change the downward slide of its productivity, the huge potential of the Nigerian agriculture sector needs to be unlocked and the key lies with the rural smallholder farmers. The ARMTI VADI serves as an experimental success which is becoming a veritable intervention model used by the government to shift the paradigm by alleviating poverty and creating wealth through the reversal of the challenges, the Executive Director of ARMTI, Dr Olufemi Oladunni has said.
“The VADI results proved that if given greater support, the rural people’s standard of living could improve through sustainable agriculture, he said.“What we are doing in the VADI project is simple. We are demonstrating that our country has everything we need for the effective diversification of the Nigerian economy through agribusinesses by involving rural stakeholders/actors in different agricultural value chains where each community has comparative advantages.
“We believe that soon enough, every state government and other stakeholders would partner with ARMTI to make the VADI model a nationwide success story,” Oladunni added. The institute also disclosed that the VADI project started with four communities in its operational area with the inauguration of Seed-Fund in September 2013.
“We are steadily reaching out to more communities around ARMTI and beyond. Three more communities joined VADI in December 2014 and then two more in April 2016, making nine participating/beneficiary communities around our operational area, within Kwara State,” the executive director said.