Naija Foodie Update

FOODIE NAIJA UPDATE (ARMTI PARTNERS COMMUNITIES TO BOOST LOCAL FOOD ENTERPRISES)

The Acting Executive Director, Agricultural and Rural Management
Training Institute (ARMTI), Ilorin,
Kwara State, Anthony Njoku has reiterated the institute’s
determination to help
communities increase
economic opportunities for local farmers and related businesses.

Njoku, who spoke at the opening
ceremony of the institute’s Training
Workshop on Cassava Commodity Value Chain Development for participating communities in its
Village Alive Development
Initiative (VADI), said: “The Village Alive
Development Initiative (VADI) is an action-research project of ARMTI to selected rural communities in our
area of operation.

“The initiative is aimed at creating a sustainable and self-
reliant community-based organisation
for rural dwellers to initiate and implement programmes, which
will improve their standard of living and social status, by reducing their level of poverty. It also provides field practicum complement for
ARMTI courses while also serving as
Corporate Social Responsibility
(CSR) for the institute.

He disclosed that ARMTI has just
acquired and installed two sets of
cassava processing equipment in two of the participating
communities.
“Now we are conducting this
four-day training workshop on cassava
commodity value chain development for all our participating
communities. Having identified our area of comparative
advantage as a state, we are committed to
provide all the support needed to
achieve maximum leverage and
dividends from it,” he said.

The institute, he explained, has
embarked on a different, locally driven approach to help people access healthy local food
and supports new businesses in the
villages that need investment.
With technical assistance through the scheme; he said participants are
taking innovative approaches to
common challenges, like launching
business incubators to support food entrepreneurs.

So far, more than N10 million has being spent on eight rural
communities in Kwara State under VALDI. The money was distributed by a
commercial bank to villagers, forming contributory groups
under a revolving loan arrangement.
During the during the kick-off of seed fund disbursement to seven participating communities under
VADI in Ilorin, in 2014, the Kwara
State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed canvassed that modern and affordable
technologies be made available for the nation’s teeming farmers, while more robust policies should be formulated to sustain the interest
of the overwhelming population in both agricultural and other
business practices.

He noted: “This project is timely and would complement the new initiatives of the Kwara State
Government as well as the Federal
Government to shift the focus of citizens as beneficiaries of an
oil-based economy to
proponents of an agro driven economy.

“Ironically, our strengths happen to lie in the vast agricultural
resource potential of the state and the nation, and with the
adoption of modern agro technology and
agronomic practices that will be sustained for devoted farmers
and coherent and stable development
policies, we are certain that agricultural growth is a realisable objective in the not too distant
future.”

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