• Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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GAIN awards ₦48m microgrants to boost access to nutritious foods

Gain microgrants

The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) in partnership with the Green Innovation Centre (GIC) has awarded a total of ₦48 million to scale up agribusiness and increase the availability, and accessibility of nutritious foods in Nigeria.

Speaking during the microgrant funding award ceremony in Abuja on Tuesday, Micheal Ojo, Nigeria’s country director, for GAIN, explained that funding directly contributes to food security by ensuring that more households have access to affordable, nutritious food options, essential for healthy living and sustainable development.

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He explained that GAIN’s strategy aims to transform food systems to make healthier diets from sustainable food systems accessible to all people especially those who are most vulnerable to shocks.

The Green Innovation Centre for Agriculture and Food sectors in Nigeria is currently working on four priority value chains, such as cassava, maize, rice, and potato.

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According to him, the aim targets to provide nutritionally enhanced staple foods to 1.5 billion people (globally), improve the access of 25 million people (globally) to healthier diets, and support positive food system transformation by 2027.

He said, “The microgrant funding of ₦3 million each (48 million in total) is not just a financial award; it’s a testament to the belief we place in these entrepreneurs. It’s an investment in the future of food security and nutrition in Nigeria.

“With this funding, these businesses are poised to scale up operations, improve food safety standards, and, most importantly, increase the availability, accessibility and consumption of nutritious foods across the country.

“As we move forward, let this ceremony not just be a celebration of what has been achieved but also a call to action for all of us. Let us continue to innovate, support, and advocate for nutritional improvement across all layers of our society. Our work is far from done, and it will take the concerted effort of each of us to achieve the Nigeria we dream of – a nation where every meal is a step towards better health.”

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In her remarks, Mercy Olorunfemi, the project manager said that the project: Strengthening Nutrition in Priority Staples Project (SNIPS), was being implemented in four states including Benue, Nasarawa, Oyo and Kaduna, from 2021 to 2025.

According to her, the beneficiaries of the fund had gone through a selection process, with criteria which included a clean environment, and adherence to set food standards.

“The Strengthening Nutrition in Priority Staples Project (SNIPS) is charged with promoting access and increasing the consumption of safe and nutritious foods in Nigeria. Our focus is on vitamin A maize, cassava, and orange-fleshed sweet potato and we work in four states, so we are in Kaduna, Nassarawa, Benue, and Oyo states.

” For us, it is important to provide holistic support to farmers’ processes and the entire supply chain actors. So think about your food, where it comes from and how it comes from. So think about your very popular staple maybe rice for instance, how do you get rice what are the actors that need to work for them for you to get rice? So you need to have your farmers you need to have your processors aggregators, distributors, resellers retailers.

“We support them with processing training, packaging training, and business sustainability training because they need to know how to scale their business with quality control.

“Now the reason why we are here today is the micro-grant for the nutritious food business, which is our access to finance component under the business support. This is very key because for us to scale the production of safe and nutritious food we need to fund the businesses.

“A lot of our businesses do not have the requirements to access credit, so what we are doing here, we’re not asking you to bring collateral but do have the capacity to produce these foods.

“They were assessed, they were interviewed, we went to their facility, we did the checks because we wanted to be sure that these businesses are producing these foods in safe areas. So with this now we have seen that they are doing the right thing and we want to support them to produce more,” she said.

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In his remarks, Charles Odii, the Director General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), commended the efforts by GAIN and GIC, stating that the award is of great importance to the beneficiaries and the overall growth of MSMEs in Nigeria.

According to him “the grant is designed to help MSMEs increase their income either through small business development or getting and retaining stable employment.”