Heifer International has announced the appointment of Rufus Idris as the new Country Director for its Nigeria operations.
Idris who assumed duties in June 2021 has already begun to operationalize Heifer International’s global mission and strategy in Africa’s largest and most populous economy.
The Nigerian citizen is a seasoned development specialist with cross-cultural experience spanning over 17 years, during which he developed and led innovative economic development programs in Nigeria and the United States.
As Country Director for Heifer Nigeria, Idris will provide the leadership and the strategic focus required to develop and leverage public-private partnerships, implementing market-driven programs that address the systemic constraints and stimulating lasting market systems improvements for farmers to attain sustainable living incomes.
Before joining Heifer International, Idris served as Deputy Chief of Party for the USAID Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity, a five-year program aimed at strengthening the enabling environment for agribusiness finance and investment in five key value chains (rice, cowpea, soya, maize and aquaculture) and seven focal Nigerian states (Benue, Kaduna, Niger, Kebbi, Delta, Ebonyi and Cross River).
Idris was the Program Director for the UK Department for International Development (DFID) funded program “Promoting Learning in Agribusiness using New Technologies (PLANT)” where he led TechnoServe’s collaboration with DFID and the British Council to develop a more competitive agriculture sector in Nigeria by increasing innovation and uptake of technology within the sector.
He was also the Portfolio Manager for a DFID-funded – Market Development (MADE) Program in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria implemented by Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI).
Adesuwa Ifedi, Senior Vice President for Africa Programs at Heifer International in a statement said, Idris proven capacity as an administrator, mobiliser and excellent team player will serve him well in his new role.
She said his appointment will deepen Heifer’s interventions and support for Nigeria’s food systems resilience and sustainability agenda.
”I trust that he will provide the much-needed operational acumen required for Heifer International’s transformational journey in the years ahead.”
Heifer’s vision for 2020-2030 is a focused approach for the African Continent to support additional three million smallholder farmers to reach a sustainable living income. As a part of this commitment, Heifer has extended its operations to Nigeria to assist more than one million farmers (largely young men and women) to reach a sustainable living income by 2030, through strategic private and public sector partnerships, unlocking demand and market opportunities, leveraging finance across priority value chains, and leveraging innovation and emerging agricultural technologies to reach transformational scale.
Speaking on his appointment, Idris said he is excited to join Heifer International as the Nigeria Country Director and to lead its innovative and inclusive in-country programs to end hunger and poverty.
He said he will leverage on the creativity of young women and men, new technologies, and strong public-private partnerships to unlock Nigeria’s potential for food sufficiency and sustainable living income.
Idris holds a Master of Science in Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University (Manchester, NH), Executive Education in Performance Measurement for Effective Management of Non-profit Organizations from Harvard University (Cambridge, MA), Bachelors degree in Biology from La Roche University (Pittsburgh, PA), and a Diploma in Fisheries Technology from Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology, Lagos.
Working with rural communities across Africa for 47 years, Heifer International supports farmers and local food producers to strengthen local economies and build secure livelihoods that provide a sustainable living income.
The organisation is repositioning its work in Africa to invest in infrastructure, young agritech entrepreneurs, and smallholder farmers to support the transformation of the continent’s agricultural sector.