The U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) and Syngenta Nigeria, an international agric-business company, have signed a three-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) to train no fewer than 500,000 farmers.
U.S Deputy Chief of Mission Maria Brewer and Syngenta Country Director, Dr Sachi Sharma signed the agreement to train the farmers on use of technologies to improve crop yields. The MoU would be executed in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
The Minister of Agriculture, and Rural Development, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, congratulated both parties for signing the MoU, saying it would change the face of seed supply in Nigeria’s agricultural sector.
Adesina said President Goodluck Jonathan had provided the “political will’’ to transform agriculture and some gains have increased public, private and partnership in the sector.
“Technology, policies, institutions and partnerships matter in agricultural sector.
“It took technologies to feed the world and change all of Asian green revolution with high yielding varieties of rice and wheat.
“In Nigeria, the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is doing tremendous work on cassava, varieties of maize and wheat.
“Technology matters and I have often said Nigeria is not going to be a laggard in the use of modern technologies in agriculture.
“We will come up with responsible policies to promote modernized agriculture,’’ he said.
In her remarks, Brewer reiterated U.S government commitment to “teaching farmers not only how to plant but helping them learn how to run successful businesses’’.
“I am truly excited about the contribution of Syngenta’s expertise as one of the world’s leading agribusiness and partnering with it to benefit the 80 per cent of Nigerians that work in the agriculture sector.
“This directly supports the government of Nigeria’s Growth Enhancement Support programme, improving the efficiency of input and service procurement and getting inputs to the farmers that need them,’’ Brewer said.
Also, Sharma said Syngenta would work with USAID and major research institutions to ensure that Nigerian farmers had access to the best agricultural technologies to boost their productivity.
According to him, the 500,000 farmers will be selected from 10 states in the country, but he did not mention the affected states.