The Kaduna State government and Golden Agri Inputs Ltd, a subsidiary of the Agro-Allied Division of Flour Mills of Nigeria (FMN), have launched the Maize and Soybean Value Chain Development Programme for farmers called YALWA (abundance) in the state.
The YALWA program established to aggressively double maize and soybean output in Nigeria through greater yields and volume, improved quality, and competitive pricing, is hinged on a well-defined Backward Integration strategy of FMN that is implemented through the use of strategic partnerships, input loans, agricultural extension, agronomy training, farm-gate participation, and out-grower schemes.
With the formal signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Kaduna State government recently, the program which has a national outlook is set to commence implementation from the state.
“We are happy to officially kick start the YALWA project, and particularly delighted to partner with the good people of Kaduna State.
In line with our purpose of feeding the nation, every day, FMN is committed to creating linkages between agriculture and industry, while also enhancing the food system in the country,” Falade Olusegun Isaac, general manager, Golden Agri Inputs said in a statement.
“Initiatives such as YALWA will surely influence the development of raw materials availability, enhance food security, and alleviate the strain of FOREX. To achieve this, we will be working closely with farmers via well-structured and well-defined out-grower schemes, assisting them by providing improved inputs as loans, providing good agronomic support, extension services, and ultimately off-take of their harvest – thus providing a ready market at a competitive price,” he said.
Other focus states captured in the programme include Niger, Gombe, and Kwara. The impact is projected to reach over 25,000 farmers and touch 100,000 individuals through farmer household empowerment and job creation over the next five years.
The drivers of the programme disclosed that Kaduna was picked as the starting point for having evolved into the northern hub of enterprise for agri-centric innovation, with strong crop output for the most reliable crops, especially maize.
Lead farmers in the state were each presented with input loans, eight bags of Pioneer hybrid seed corn, 60 bags of 50kg 20:10:10 NPK Golden Fertilizer 40 bags of Urea, and 2 bags of 25kg Soybean seed and requisite chemicals to kick start the initiative.
The program’s lead, Olushola Fashedemi, head of commercial, Golden Agri Input, highlighted the importance of collaborating with Corteva Agricscience, which is one of the world’s best performing hybrid seed companies and the owner of some of agriculture’s most famous brands, such as Pioneer.
“This is of course in addition to Golden Penny Fertilizer, which is widely recognized as one of the top fertilizers in the country. Essentially, our goal with the YALWA program is to improve farmers’ livelihoods, and as such, we will be monitoring, evaluating, and reporting on our efforts in conjunction with the CBN and several other state governments,” he said.
Fashedemi also commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for its invaluable role in ensuring that the program at the national level kicks off with no issues.
He added that the focus on market linkage, access to market, and financial inclusion was topmost in the CBN intervention.
“More importantly CBN has partnered on this program to ensure a stable and steady supply of raw materials to the factories.”
“We are currently working with 1,000 farmers in 10 LGAs across the state, to double yield potential in these focus value chains by the end of the program. We envisage that maize will increase from 2.5mt to 5mt per hectare and soybean from 1mt to 2mt per hectare, all while optimizing local content for our feeds and protein downstream investments,” he added.
Hajiya Halima Lawal, Kaduna State Commissioner for Agriculture, commended the Project YALWA initiative and urged farmers to take advantage of the opportunity it avails them.