ACCELERATING AGRIBUSINESS BLOCK VALUE CHAIN LOCALIZATION, THROUGH PARTNERSHIPS- Case of a private Enterprise in collaboration with NGOs in Cross River State

The NGO sector has been widely criticized for their failure to demonstrate the ideals of partnership in practice, especially, between international NGOs and their local NGOs in developing countries. Many literatures assert that conventional partnership often fails to demonstrate its ideals in practice because, INGO (International None Governmental Organization) donors wield enormous power and influence over their local NGO partners because of their control over funds. Several face-to-face interviews ponder whether many Nigerian NGOs and their INGOs partners share a common understanding of the ideals of partnership? And more so, whether these partnership ideals are actually demonstrated in practice, as the case may be. A few rich incredible collaborations have been witnessed lately, following the Covid-19 pandemic that has proven the need for INGO donors and local counterparts to effectively be partners willing to promote mutual accountability in their partnership engagements in order to promote concrete changes in the lives of the beneficiaries of their work project Environments.

Such is the collaboration of local enterprise and local NGOs, co-opting together in Cross River State, with a view to achieving zero, hunger, and creating food security opportunities among rural dwellings, towards promoting communal wealth generation for the less privileged of society. Frantic attempts have been taken by the digital Governor of Cross River, Senator Ben Ayade, to upgrade the Greenlife of Cross Riverians by promoting agribusiness investment development initiatives through numerous agricultural fronts in a way that will enhance millions of youth engagement, and socio-­venture assistance in the sector.

Wemton Agricultural Development and Advisory Services (WADAS), made an entry that is adding value to this sector, leading Small and Medium Scale SMS Enterprises to collaborate with the local content – women, with support from Second Opportunity Africa (SOPA, to pitch tent in great Cross River State, using the World Food Day as an entry point. The focus is to accelerate opportunity localization, especially, in the Agribusiness sector of Cross River State to ensure rapid response to entry into the sector in order to accelerate cumulative food security, employment, marketing, and improved socio-welfare especially of the rural poor, women in Agriculture, reducing youth restively idleness, cult culture, and migration to the urban areas. Whilst Wadas focused at providing Agribusiness training, extension services, and cooperative formation, the two NGOs provided lift spring board effective mobilization continuum scheme with welfare and advocacy infomercials to retain proficient operation and lifestyle changes. It is indeed, a silent revolution that is adding Cross River State to the very key pivotal FOOD BASKET mechanism of GDP for Nigeria and essential import substitute lead State of the nation.

Co-operative formation, training, farm input supplies, cottage size processing units, and eventual off-take direct to market scheme were established in conjunction with Ocean mint Uk positioned for export of packaged foods from Cross River State to African foods stores in Europe.

The group pitch tents in the following local community area, Boki, Ogoja, Obanliku, Akpabuyo, Akampka and are given certificates for contributions towards food security was organized in the State by Wemton Agricultural Development Advisory Services, WADAS, in conjunction with Offer of Jobs Opportunities for Women and Children, OJO WACNET, a multi-purpose cooperative society.

The farmers expressed happiness that they will benefit from Global Good Agricultural Practice (GGAP) standards in all areas of their cultivation, operation, and harvests, safe food marketing, and export of quality healthy produce to Europe and America. While commending the gesture and encouragements to local farmers, Mrs. Angela Bako, Senior Lecturer at the Federal College of Education, Katsina Ala, and Hon. Linda Somiari Stewart, Member, Rivers State House of Assembly and Matron ofOJO WACNET, spoke on importance of boosting agriculture to ensure food security in Nigeria.

In his remarks, Hon. Paul Okoh, a farmer and Special Adviser to Boki local Chairman on Security, gave a lecture on organic natural foods from the Boki nation.  Amongst the food vendors, produce merchants and smallholder farmers recognized included those from Boki, Ogoja and Akamkpa local government areas of the State, who have made tremendous contributions in farming. Dr Tony Wemton of WADAS, said it was worth appreciating the farmers and their families with such funfair, competitions, and awards for best agricultural practice standards in farm management, food handlmg, storage, and marketing.

He promised further training, and introduction of modem agriculture best practices in order to create agro allied jobs and communal wealth generation in nominated communities. The event closed with deliciously cooked natural fresh rice and veggies from the stables of local farmers in Boki/Ogoja townships in traditional culinary ways.