Smallholder farmers to make €9.7m in horticulture project

HortiNigeria on Wednesday estimated a 9.7 million euro as revenue for smallholder farmers benefitting in its sustainable, gender-and youth- inclusive horticulture programme.

The Program Director, Mr Mohammed Idris, who said this in Abuja, ahead of the launch of HortiNigeria project, noted that the aim was targeted at building a sustainable horticulture sector which contributes to nutritional and food security in the country.

Horticulture is the science and art of the development, sustainable production, marketing and use of high-value, intensively cultivated food and ornamental plants.

Horticultural crops are diverse, including annual and perennial species, fruits and vegetables, decorative indoor plants among others.

The HortiNigeria project is funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and awarded to the International Fertiliser Development Center (IFDC) and its consortium partners East-West seed Knowledge Transfer, among others.

Idris said at the end of 2025, HortiNigeria would have motivated no less than 60,000 farmers producing more and improved variety of vegetables for the market.

According to him, the project, estimated to generate 9.7 million Euros is being implemented in four states, with a cycle of four years.

“HortiNigeria is implemented in Kano, Kaduna, Ogun and Oyo states, focusing on tomato, okra, onion, and pepper value chains, and will work through four components.

“All activities are focused on vegetables for domestic markets.

“The programme intends to boost the productivity and income of 60,000 smallholder farmers (50 per cent youths and 40 per cent women) by introducing eco-efficient agronomic practices.

“Acreage under sustainable cultivation will be increased by 15,000 hectares,” he said.

Idris said the project was also expected to reduce the seasonal risks in farming by promoting innovations and regional diversifications to 2,000 entrepreneurial farmers.

“The programme will increase access to finance for 50 agricultural-related SMEs, enhance sector coordination and will facilitate 200 business- to -business linkages in all the four participating states,” he said.

Mariska Lammers, the Embassy of the Netherlands’ First Secretary on Food Security and Climate, described the programme as part of an enhancement in the bilateral relations between Netherlands and Nigeria.

“It is very exciting to see our largest food security programme in Nigeria taking off, the horticulture sector here offers many opportunities and we believe The Netherlands can add the most value,” Lammers said.

The official said it was worrisome that Nigeria currently had low capacity to meet local demand for vegetables, noting a supply gap of 13 million metric tonnes.

Lammers said that participating farmers would be youths and women, as they constituted the key to transforming and accelerating the development of a vibrant vegetable sector.

This, he added, would also be beneficial to the rural communities in which they live and the entire country.

IFDC is an independent non-profit organization that combines innovative research, market systems development, and strategic partnerships to spread sustainable agricultural solutions for improved soil health, food security, and livelihoods around the world.

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