The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has signed agreements with 14 organisations on a project to facilitate economic recovery in the northeast affected by insurgency.
The project entails an investment of 2.5 million dollars.
The implementing partner is Mercy Corps Nigeria.
USAID’s Communication Specialist, Grace Oguntade, stated on Tuesday in Maiduguri that the programme would improve resilience and livelihood of smallholder farmers and micro enterprises owners.
It is known as USAID Feed Future Nigeria Rural Resilience Activity.
“Market structures in parts of the northeast have been negatively impacted by the on-going conflict and insecurity in the region.
“This has resulted in significant loss of lives and property, destruction of critical infrastructure, displacement, and the destabilisation of economic, food, and animal production.
“In addition to the market crises, COVID-19 has exacerbated the inaccessibility of the poor and rural dwellers, particularly women, youth, persons living with disabilities, and internally displaced persons to markets.
“To address these challenges, the Rural Resilience Activity is investing an additional 2.5 million dollars through the Notice of Funding Opportunities, to support 14 new private sector and civil society partners.
“The support is to enable the partners to implement innovative ideas to reduce hunger and malnutrition, and increase the income and resilience of smallholder farmers, microenterprise owners and producer organisations in the northeast.
“This additional funding will help to create market opportunities for participants by removing bottlenecks that impede inclusive market participation due to the shortage of market actors,’’ she added.
Oguntade quoted the Country Director of Mercy Corps Nigeria, Ndubuisi Anyanwu, as saying that it valued partnerships and believed it offered the best opportunity to deliver quality programmes and sustain them in the long run.
Anyanwu said the partnerships would increase incomes, promote sustainable change in market systems, and enhance the resilience of smallholder farmers and microenterprises owners in conflict-affected areas of the northeast.
Oguntade also quoted the Chief of Party, Feed the Future Nigeria Rural Resilience Activity, Margarita Aswani, as saying that the organisation was proud to be supporting local organisations that were investing in the region.
“The new partners are Zenith of the Girl Child and Women Initiative Support (ZEGCAWIS), Smiling Hearts Initiatives International and Biu Women Castro & Jetropha Farmers.
“Others are Livestock 247 Services, Diamond Development Initiatives (DDI), Angala Fintech, Riby Market Place Ltd. and Solar Sisters Nigeria.
Others still are Synergos, Standard Microfinance Bank Ltd., Interra Networks Ltd., Pula Advisor Nigeria Ltd., Interra Synergy Ltd, and Jewel Entrepreneurship and Business School (JEBS).
“Partners such as DDI, Interra and Synergos will facilitate improved access to agricultural inputs for farmers, provide linkages with processors, and strengthen the capacity of weak producer organisations.
“JEBS and ZEGCAWIS will contribute to poverty reduction among participants, especially women and youth, through training in soft skills, financial literacy, and business management,’’ Oguntade explained.