All is now set for the Market Development in the Niger Delta, MADE, a U.K. Department for International Development Funded programme, to launch N80 million Technology Adoption Grant, TAG, a private sector intervention aimed at stimulating performance in select agriculture value chains in the Niger Delta.
The TAG fund managed by MADE will be awarded to eligible individuals and enterprises with focus on palm oil processing, fish smoking and improving harvesting technologies through a competitive grant process.
In a statement released on Saturday in Abuja, the Communications and Advocacy Manager for MADE, Fidelis Ekom, said the competition which will be launched on November 16 is open solely to individual businesses and enterprises domiciled and operating in the Niger Delta, explaining that successful bids can receive up to a maximum of N1.1 million depending on the funding window.
The statement explained that those captured under the first funding window are small scale business people with focus on fish smoking. It said TAG fund will give access to new fish smoking kilns with its attendant benefits which include safety from fire hazards, improved efficiency (the time it takes to smoke fish), improved smoking capacity and reduction in the cost of doing business.
It said 80 units of 50-75kg kilns, 20 units of 100kg kilns and 4units of 200-250kg kilns were available for Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Edo and Cross River States under the first funding arrangement.
For palm oil processing technologies, MADE said it was working on getting fabricators to collaborate with commercial millers to organize demonstrations on the benefits of the use of improved processing technologies and practices targeted at other millers and mill users and farmers, provide good quality machines and also after sale support services.
This, according to MADE, would lead to increased awareness on the benefits of new processing technologies and in turn increased demand for the technologies by millers and mill users, thus leading to increased yields for market actors.
It said 80 units of 3 MT/10Hr shift Small Scale Processing Equipment (SSPE) are available for Imo, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Edo and Abia States.
Under the third funding window which is aimed at providing access to improved harvesting technologies, MADE said it will be intervening with equipment such adjustable harvester and Malaysian Knife which are capable of increasing the quantity of FFB harvestable from a plantation, as against the current practice of manual climbing which is hazardous and inefficient.
“ In order to stimulate demand for the technologies, marketers will collaborate with lead harvesters to organize demonstrations on the benefits and use of improved harvesting technologies to other harvesters and farmers as well as strengthening the capacities of harvesters and farmers on field use of equipment. This is expected to lead to increased awareness on benefits of new harvesting technologies and also increase the demand for the technologies by harvesters and farmers, thus leading to timely harvest,” the statement said.
It said 40 units of 140 FFB/day mechanical harvesters and 150 units of 70 FFB/day Malaysian Knife were available for Imo, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Edo and Abia States.
The statement said interested individuals or organizations seeking the Technology Adoption Grant (TAG) must develop a model or a business idea that would sustainably address the constraint of technology adoption and improve competitiveness within the Niger Delta states.
It said the grants are only available for November and December 2016.