The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is funding six agricultural commodities value chains with emphasis on rice and yam production to ensure food sufficient in Nigeria.
The rice project by the foundation was currently being implemented in Cross River, Niger, Kebbi, Jigawa, Kano, Plateau and Edo, Ebonyi States.
Dr. Audu Grema, the Senior Programme Officer, Agriculture in the West African Office of the Foundation, disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday.
Grema listed some agricultural projects of the foundation to include CARI-Project (rice), which was aimed at improving rice production productivity, pest control, and variety enhancement.
Grema expressed optimism that Nigeria would soon be self sufficient in rice production.
The programme officer, however, said the Cassava Value Addition Project was based in Abeokuta at the University of Agriculture.
His words: “We also have a big yam project where we are working with private farms around Abuja, Kaduna, Niger, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Akure to enhance yam propagation technology through seeds.
“We have a huge portfolio of agricultural investments in Nigeria. We are work on maize, rice, yam, cassava and crop-livestock interface.
“We have four strategic cassava investments that we think are critical that we are funding across Nigeria.
“In agriculture, we do not approve projects except if it has a small holder connection.
“Anything we fund must have a connection with enhancing the status of small scale farmers.”
Grema explained that the foundation was also working in public health, integrated vaccine delivery, routine immunisation revival across many states.
On the reports that Gates was a major propagator of Genetically Modified Organisms, the programme officer refuted the assertion, saying that the Bill Gates had no connection with GMOs.
According to him, Bill Gates has no interest to promote agribusiness, so we are denying that we did not bring GMOs into Nigeria.
Grema explained: “Bill and Melinda Gates are not farmers; they are not into agricultural services; so, to think they will promote GMOs just to promote their businesses interest is very wrong”.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest private foundation in the world, founded by Bill Gates.