By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, has empowered 678 farmers in Ogun, Taraba and Nasarawa States with rice production inputs under the ‘IFAD COVID-19 pandemic Rural Poor Stimulus Facility Grant’.
The farmers who were elated with the intervention and support from IFAD received the inputs during the flag-off ceremony of rice production inputs.
Speaking on essence of the assistance given to benefiting farmers in the three States, Acting National Programme Coordinator, FGN/IFAD Value Chain Development Programme, VCDP, Dr Fatima Aliyu, said is the Value Chain Development Programme is a joint programme by IFAD and the Federal Government of Nigeria, while handing over the inputs to the benefiting farmers.
According to Aliyu, the programme aims at basically boosting and improving farmers’ wealth, employment generation for youths, and to fortify Nigeria’s food security.
Meanwhile, she said breakdown of the benefiting farmers in Ogun are 37 men (adults and youth) and 72 women (adults and youth) totaling 109 farmers; Taraba- 234 men (adults and youth) and 215 women (adults and youth) totaling 449 farmers; and Nasarawa- 43 men (adults and youth) and 77 women (adults and youth) totaling 120, which the grand total is 678 farmers.
She added that the flag-off ceremony for distribution of rice production inputs under the ‘IFAD COVID-19 pandemic Rural Poor Stimulus Facility Grant’ takes place across the States in Nigeria.
She said: “This special occasion of the flag-off of agro inputs distribution to our great farmers which has been made possible through the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) COVID-19 Rural Poor Stimulus Facility grant.
“The Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) is a joint program of the Federal Government of Nigeria and IFAD and is implemented by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“The project aims to improve the incomes and food security of poor rural households engaged in the production, processing and marketing of rice and cassava on a sustainable basis.
“In early 2020, there was an outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic which affected the world and disrupted farming activities and food systems. To cushion the effect of Covid-19 pandemic on farmers, IFAD gave a grant tagged Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (RPSF) to VCDP through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“Through the RPSF 2,793 vulnerable farmers will receive agro inputs to support their farming activities.
“A total of 678 farmers in Ogun, Taraba and Nasarawa States will receive these inputs free consisting of 40kg certified rice seeds, 2 litres of herbicides, 2 bags of NPK and 1 bag of Urea fertilizers.”
She (Aliyu) furth3er explained that, “VCDP will also provide extension services to targeted farmers who will receive trainings on good practices in the application of fertilizers and agro-chemicals as well as farm management and climate smart agriculture.
“To enhance transparency in the process, the Programme engaged International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC) for the effective management of the input – supply, redemption and delivery in all the nine States through the voucher input redemption system.
“We recognize and appreciate the support of IFAD in our quest to improve the livelihoods of our small holder farmers and specifically to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on the agricultural sector particularly for VCDP farmers.
Meanwhile she commended the federal government and states for their effort towards boosting food production, and also charged farmers not to sell the inputs but make judicious use of the inputs for the purpose they were given for.