Birnin-Kebbi, Kebbi State – In a significant display of agricultural progress, an Agricultural Mini-Fair was held on December 13, 2023, in Birnin-Kebbi, Kebbi State. The event highlighted the fruitful collaboration between the Kebbi State Government and the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) with technical support from Diamond Development Initiatives (DDI) in transforming local agriculture and empowering communities. The collaboration, which began in 2019, represents a partnership aimed at enhancing local agribusinesses, producer associations, and SMEs in Kebbi State, through seed capital and technical assistance. This initiative is integral to Kebbi State’s agricultural development strategy and aligns with USADF’s mission to foster economic growth and create pathways to prosperity.

The Mini-Fair was a platform for showcasing and celebrating the success stories and achievements of eight notable agricultural cooperatives, including Dankwalli Cluster Rice Farmers Cooperative Association, Birgin Jigawa Dairy Farmers Cooperative Association, Magaji Karaye Groundnut and Farmers’ Cooperative Association, Sangara Agro Allied Producers and Marketers Cooperative Association, Gaskiya Dairy Farmers Cooperative Association, Dawanau Group Farmers’ Cooperative Association, MatanFada Fakai Multi-Purpose Group, and Tondi Gada Women Multipurpose Cooperative Association.

The mini-fair underscored the critical role of strategic partnerships in driving sustainable agricultural and economic development, as the groups demonstrated how the shift from traditional methods to modern, efficient practices has enhanced productivity and livelihoods. Innovations such as revolving loan schemes by the Dawanau Groundnut Farmers’ Cooperative Association, Gaskiya Dairy milk production innovations, Dankwali Cluster rice revolution, Sangara’s product enhancement and diversification efforts by the Tondi Gada Women were some of the key features and success stories of the fair, illustrating the tangible benefits of the program.

The event saw attendance from prominent personalities and organizations dedicated to agricultural and economic advancement. Notably present were Mr. Joel Aiki, the Permanent Secretary of the Agriculture Ministry, representing the commissioner, and Dr. Umar Ambursa, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Animal Health, Husbandry and Fisheries. The Permanent Secretary of the Information Ministry and several directors from the Agriculture Ministry were also in attendance. Esteemed institutions such as NIRSAL Microfinance Bank, National Cereals Research Institute (NCRI), National Agricultural Seed Council, Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC), and various development partners were represented. These partners included the Nigeria for Women Project, the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Programme (ATASP), and the USAID Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services Activity – Kebbi State Program.

In his remarks, DDI’s Executive Director Adamu Garba highlighted the transformative impact of the projects, stating that the initiatives were more than agricultural ventures, but “catalysts for economic empowerment and community progress.” Expressing gratitude to USADF and the Kebbi State Government. for their role in “driving positive change, improving revenues, generating jobs, and enhancing life quality,” he added that the efforts of USADF and the Kebbi State Government demonstrate the potential for transforming agriculture and securing a brighter future with the right support and determination.

On his part, the Permanent Secretary of the Kebbi State Agriculture Ministry, representing the ministry’s commissioner, emphasized the Kebbi State Government’s dedication to ensuring the sustainability of the project.

The mini-fair not only highlighted the successful outcomes of the USADF-Kebbi State collaboration but also marked a significant step in the journey towards an empowered and prosperous agricultural commodity value chains in Kebbi State.

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