The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) and Kebbi State Government have signed a 10 million-dollar Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the development and expansion of agricultural enterprises in the state.

The agreement was signed on Thursday in Abuja by the President and Chief Executive Officer of USADF, Mr. C.D. Glin and Kebbi State Commissioner for Agriculture, Alhaji Attahiru Mashido.

Glin said that USADF, the U.S. Government’s African enterprise development agency, was uniquely positioned to leverage funds from African governments and directly invest the funds in community enterprises.

He said that USADF and Kebbi would contribute five million dollars each for the five-year programme, which was aimed at providing seed capital and technical assistance to local agribusinesses in the state.

According to him, each of the partners would contribute one million dollars each to the programme.

“This partnership will focus on three value chains in the region to fund the production of rice, dairy products and groundnuts.

“The goals of this partnership are to increase Kebbi State’s market competitiveness, while increasing incomes and yields for community enterprises and individual farmers.

“USADF will provide one million dollars a year in seed capital funding as well as technical assistance and oversight through its local partner, Diamond Development Initiative,” he said.

He said that USADF had recognised the challenges facing the African continent today and in the future, adding that the agency would co-create solutions with Nigerians to build stronger communities across the country via agribusiness.

In his remarks, Gov. Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi said that the partnership was a remarkable agreement which would enhance the development of agriculture and stimulate empowerment of people in the state.

“The Kebbi State Government’s agreement to match funds with USADF, to invest in local grassroots economic development and to create jobs for vulnerable populations is essential to this vision.

“The Kebbi State Government has approved separate funds for better transportation infrastructure to boost agricultural activities in partnership with USADF.

“The Rural Access Agricultural Marketing Project is to cover rural access roads in the state, while USADF is to engage rice farmers, milk processors and makers of groundnut cake known as Kuli-Kuli,” he said.

He said that the partnership had demonstrated the joint commitment of Kebbi State and the U.S. to achieving sustainable development for the region.

Bagudu said that the programme also was an avenue to boost the market competitiveness of Kebbi State in rice production, while increasing incomes for farmers and their families as well.

“This partnership will align with the Kebbi State Government’s development priorities and provide funding for market-oriented rice, groundnut and dairy value chains in the region so as to create jobs and increase incomes,”  he said. (NAN)