Ambassador Veelen tasks Nigerian Farmers on commercial agriculture


By; SANI ALIYU, Zaria.
Netherland Deputy Ambassador to Nigeria, Michel Veelen has challenged Nigerian farmers to embrace commercial agriculture  for self-sufficiency.
Veelen gave the challenge 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.
The Panpaida is one of the remote villages in Nigeria selected for United Nations empowerment pilot programme.
Also, the project was implemented by an NGO, Millennium Project (MP) through financial support from Japanese Government.
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 it would enable them become employers of labour.
On the community’s efforts to produce packaged Tombrown, Veelen said, 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 is another way of helping people to help themselves.”
Earlier, the MP Coordinator, Dr Ojo Eyitayo had said that the NGO was the implementer of the project through substantial financial support from Government of Japan.
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 businesses among others started 10 years ago.
In a welcome address, Mr Thomson Ogunsanmi leader of Scale Team said their NGO was currently supporting 42,000 farmers on profitable agricultural businesses in nine states across Nigeria.
“We highly appreciate the efforts of Pampaida community for producing this Tombrown and we will ensure that the product is commercialised across the country.
“In this village, 620 farmers from 29 cooperatives are being supported 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 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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