By Peter Duru
MAKURDI—Benue State Government has said over 7,000 farmers are being supported in the state by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, Value Chain Development Programne, VCDP, to boost rice and cassava production in the country.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. James Anbua, made this known at the IFAD-VCDP Commodity Alliance Forum for Farmers and Stakeholders in Makurdi.
Represented by his Director of Media, Mr. Ahangba Ayati, the Commissioner said: “The government recently released N166 million as counterpart fund to the programme to further support its success story.”
In his remark, the IFAD-VCDP State Programme Coordinator, Mr. Emma-nuel Igbaukum, stated that besides availing farmers with financial support, the programme had also exposed them to improved agronomy practice.
He said: “The coming of IFAD-VCDP has also helped Benue farmers upscale their rice production from 1.5 million metric tonnes to over five million metric tonnes annually. We urge farmers and off-takers alike to stick to the provision of the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, they entered into to sustain the success we have achieved so far in Benue State.”
Earlier, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, representative, Mr. Sylvester Afenyi, said the partnership among the anchor borrowers, farmers and other stake-holders would be in cash and urged the farmers to make good use of it.