Value Seeds Limited, an indigenous crop seed production, solution and development company, in collaboration with the Mastercard Foundation will empower 10,000 smallholder farmers in Nigeria with the distribution of farm supplements. Women will constitute 70 per cent of the programme’s participants who will be selected from 22 local governments in five states, including Kaduna, Kano, Niger, Benue, and Katsina. The agricultural supplements to be distributed include fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, agrochemicals, Knapsack sprayers, and sachet tomato seeds.
In addition to the provision of farm inputs for maize and rice seedlings, the programme will also promote financial inclusion, support the improvement of yield, provide access to best agronomical practices, and create linkages to premium markets.
In 2021, 4,000 women and youth will be provided with farm inputs and training for agronomical practices, especially in maize and rice farming and an additional 6,000 women and youth will be impacted in 2022.
Between May – July 2021, Value Seeds was able to complete the first and second distribution of inputs to participants. A female participant in the program, Amina Marcus, noted that the interventions provided by the company through the provision of quality farm inputs and training has contributed to improving both her farm yield and financial standing. “Before 2020, we had challenges accessing quality inputs, especially fertilizers and high yielding seeds. My highest yield, on average, did not exceed six bags of maize production. But last year, I participated in the program and had access to quality smart seeds, fertilizers, and agrochemicals. Now, I can harvest 11 bags at a time. I would say the impact has been quite phenomenal in the last season with a better yield. I have been able to support my family financially and save up some money in the process,” she said.
Value Seeds Limited managing director, George Zangir, who is leading the initiative, says he is excited to see a large number of Nigerian youth and women participating in the program given how far-reaching the impact will be on the economy. “It is good to know that women in these locations are showing great interest in agriculture and especially farming.
In her remarks, Nigeria Country Head for the Mastercard Foundation, Chidinma Lawanson, stated that the intervention for women and youth participating in the initiative is aligned with the vision of the Foundation to see young people access dignified and fulfilling work.