By Obinna Unaeze
Mokwa (Niger), June 22, 2022 The nine states participating in the Federal Government and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) have so far received one million dollars grant.
Dr Fatima Aliyu, the Acting National Programme Coordinator, FG/IFAD-VCDP, said this in Mokwa, Niger State, while inaugurating third phase of the IFAD-VCDP COVID-19 pandemic Rural Poor Stimulus Facility grant for the benefiting farmers in the state on Wednesday.
“Today, we are distributing farm inputs worth one million dollars to 2,793 vulnerable farmers in the nine VCDP participating states of Anambra, Benue, Enugu, Ebonyi, Kogi, Niger Nasarawa, Taraba and Ogun,’’ she said.
Aliyu said that the project was aimed at improving incomes and food security of poor rural households engaged in the production, processing and marketing of rice and cassava on a sustainable basis.
She said that VCDP would also provide extension services to targeted farmers who would receive training on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) in the application of fertilisers and agro-chemicals as well as farm management and climate smart agriculture.
Aliyu said that the criteria for selecting the vulnerable among the VCDP farmers was based on the persons with disabilities, widows, single mothers, poorest of the poor among others.
The acting national programme coordinator urged the states coordinators of VCDP to collaborate with their state Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development to ensure that benefiting farmers utilised the inputs to uplift the living standards of their families and also boost rice production.
Also speaking, Dr Idris Gbogan, the Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that VCDP had been a huge success in the state following the efforts of the Federal Government, IFAD-VCDP, state government and the farmers.
Gbogan urged the beneficiaries to utilise the inputs in order to increase their yields.
“The ministry will work with the IFAD-VCDP to monitor you from here to your farms to ensure that you do the right thing,” he said.
Earlier, Dr Mathew Ahmed, the State Programme Coordinator, said that out of the one million dollars grant, the state got N85 million to purchase inputs for 612 benefiting farmers.
“What FG/IFAD-VCDP are supporting you with today is to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic as a vulnerable group, per person is about N100,000.
“None of you will pay a dime to redeem your inputs.
“We have also made arrangements for you to transport these inputs to your local governments in order to take off the financial burden on you,” he said.
Ahmed said that each farmer would get two bags of NPK fertiliser, one bag of urea fertiliser, 40kg of satisfied rice seeds and one litre of selective and non-selective herbicides.
According to him, with the inputs, the farmers are expected to harvest not less than 6.5 metric tonnes of rice per hectare of land.
The state VCDP coordinator explained that the 612 vulnerable farmers were drawn from the eight benefiting Local Government Areas of Bida, Katcha, Kontagora, Shiroro, Edati, Borgu, Wushishi and Mokwa in the state.
Ahmed said that the inputs were distributed to the farmers in three phases to enable VCDP monitor the exercise from the distribution point to the farm, where it would be used by the farmers.
“In the last four days, when we went to the field for supervision, we discovered that the farmers used the inputs for what they were meant for.
“Therefore, we are satisfied with the level of compliance among the benefiting farmers,’’ he said.
Responding on behalf of the farmers, Mrs Rachel Ahmed thanked the Federal Government, IFAD-VCDP and the state and promised that they would utilise the inputs in order to get more support from the government.