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Ecowas' Grant To Poultry Famers

ECOWAS Allocates $78 Million Grant to Boost Food Security in Nigeria

In a significant move to bolster food security in Nigeria, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has taken a dynamic step by granting $78 million. This substantial financial support is intended to empower 150 farmers hailing from both Bauchi State and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). These beneficiaries are members of the Community Allied Farmers Association of Nigeria (COMAFAS). This initiative reflects a pivotal effort to revitalize the agricultural sector, promote food production, and ultimately enhance food security in the region.

Empowering Communities through Agricultural Training

The announcement of this grant came to light during the opening of a poultry training workshop held in Abuja’s Orozo area. ECOWAS Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture, Massandje Toure-Litse, was at the forefront of this declaration. She expressed the overarching goal of the grant, which is to increase the capacity of young individuals to actively engage in agriculture value chains and food production.

This investment is poised to bring about transformative change by providing targeted training to 150 young individuals specializing in poultry and fisheries. Toure-Litse emphasized the pivotal roles played by these two subsectors in driving the sub-region’s economy and fostering its development.

Massandje Toure-Litse - ECOWAS Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture

A Vision of Inclusivity and Growth

One of the notable aspects of this initiative is its commitment to inclusivity. Of the total beneficiaries, 30 percent are women, and 70 percent are men, a strategic approach aimed at promoting gender equality in agriculture. Toure-Litse stressed the importance of enhancing agricultural productivity and competitiveness in West Africa, which has the potential to positively impact food security, economic development, and livelihoods across the sub-region.

Guided by the ECOWAS Agriculture Policy

Massandje Toure-Litse underscored that the ECOWAS Agriculture Policy remains the guiding framework for all 15 member states. It places a strong emphasis on agricultural productivity and competitiveness. Through this policy, the program seeks to strengthen the capabilities of young people and female farmers, facilitating their access to essential resources, markets, and involvement in agribusiness.

Addressing Urgent Needs in Agriculture

The urgency of intervention in various aspects of the food supply chain was a key point in Toure-Litse’s address. This intervention encompasses crops, forestry, livestock, and fisheries. She pointed out the significance of these sectors, highlighting that products from crops, livestock, and fisheries contribute significantly to intra-community trade. Of these, livestock stands as the largest item.

The Path Forward: Youth Employment in Agriculture

Massandje Toure-Litse presented a compelling vision for the future. At least 30% of young people in subregion will be employed in the agriculture sector by 2030. This projection signifies a substantial 75 percent reduction in youth underemployment in rural areas.

Benefits for Bauchi and FCT Farmers

As reported by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), 75 out of the 150 beneficiaries will receive training in poultry farming in the FCT, while the remaining 75 will be trained in fish farming in Bauchi. The FCT beneficiaries have already received a head start with 50 birds each, along with bags of poultry feeds and essential drugs as initial capital to kickstart their farming endeavors.

Dr. Austine Maduka, Founder/President of COMAFAS, emphasized the significance of this partnership with ECOWAS. He shed light on the current state of Nigeria’s poultry industry, highlighting that despite its expansion, it can only meet 30 percent of the nation’s needs. This training initiative is poised to equip young farmers with effective strategies for starting and managing production efficiently.

A Brighter Future: Reducing Poverty and Ensuring Food Availability

Dr. Maduka underscored the vital role of this partnership in imparting individuals with the necessary skills to reduce poverty while ensuring a consistent supply of meat and food products. It is initiatives like these that not only empower farmers but also contribute to the overall economic development of the region.

In conclusion, ECOWAS’ grant of $78 million to empower farmers in Bauchi State and the Federal Capital Territory is a momentous step towards enhancing food security and revitalizing the agricultural sector. With a strong focus on training, inclusivity, and fostering youth employment in agriculture, this initiative holds the promise of a more prosperous and food-secure West Africa. As we look to the future, the positive impact of such endeavors will undoubtedly reverberate across the entire region, heralding a brighter and more food-secure tomorrow.

Emmanuel Iwegbue

I am a passionate writer with a keen interest in SMEs and fostering economic growth. I focus on empowering businesses to thrive and contribute to Nigeria's economic development.

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