//Ojo Shola, Nigeria//
NETHERLANDS Deputy Ambassador to Nigeria, Michel Veelen, has urged Nigerian farmers to embrace commercial agriculture to the country can be self-sufficient.
Veelen gave the charge at the launch of “packaged Tombrown” a nutritious food produced by the villagers held at Pampaida village in Ikara Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Northwest Nigeria.
The project, which was implemented by non governmental organization, Millennium Project (MP) through financial support from Japanese government, selected Panpaida, one of the remote villages in Nigeria for United Nations empowerment pilot programme.
The deputy ambassador said the call became imperative in view of the fact that it would not only aid the villagers become self-reliant, but would also enable them to become employers of labour.
Speaking specifically on the community’s efforts to produce packaged Tombrown, Veelen observed that the technical-know-how of making money was far better than the immediate financial gains.
“I am glad to see you learning what will brighten your future, of course, this another way of helping people to help themselves,” he said.
Earlier, the MP Coordinator, Dr Ojo Eyitayo had said the NGO was the implementor of the project through substantial financial support from Japanese government.
He said Panpaida project, which was meant to improve the living standard of the villagers in various aspects to include agriculture, education, health, infrastructure, ICT, economic and business among others started 10 years ago.
In a welcome address, Mr Thomson Ogunsanmi leader of 2acale Team said their NGO was currently supporting 42,000 farmers in nine states across Nigeria on profitable agricultural businesses.
“We highly appreciate the efforts of Pampaida community for producing this Tombrown and we will ensure that the product is commercialise across the country.
“In this village, 620 farmers are being supported in 29 cooperatives and this is done through the production of groundnuts, soya beans and other farm produce.
“We operate private-sector-driven business, in essence, we want farmers to get maximum profit of what they do,” he noted.
Speaking on behalf of the community, Mr Ayuba Habila a beneficiary of the project assured that the lifestyle of Pampaida community had significantly improved following the presence of the NGOs.
“Glad to state that in the first instance, we have secured a N10 million loan from a microfinance bank and successfully paid back, in the subsequent period, another N24 million loan was obtained and as at now, 98 per cent of the said loan had been paid back.
“Apart from that the new method of farming and technology introduced to us had really improved our yield through modern farming and marketing techniques,” he said.
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