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By Peter Duru, Makurdi

Reports have indicated that the International Fund for Agricultural Development-Value Chain Development Programme, IFAD-VCDP, has contributed over N11.3 billion to the Benue state economy.

The report also disclosed that the programme in the state has contributed over 49,991 Metric Tonnes, MT, of rice and 87,227 MT of cassava to Nigeria’s food security.

The State Programme Coordinator, SPC, of the IFAD-VCDP, in Benue state, Mr. Emmanuel Igbaukum made this known during his presentation at the Mid Term Report, MTR, interaction with stakeholders in Makurdi covering June 1, 2019 to October 31, 2022.

The SPC explained that the programme was piloted in five Local Government Areas, LGAs, of the state including Guma, Gwer East, Okpokwu, Ogbadibo and Logo while Agatu, Gwer West and Kwande were recently included to make it eight LGAs.

Igbaukum stated that the overall goal of the programme “is rural poverty reduction and accelerated economic  growth  achieved on a sustainable and inclusive basis”

He noted that Programme Development Objective, PDO, “is incomes and food  security of poor rural households engaged in production, processing and  marketing of rice and cassava in the targeted LGAs and enhanced on a 
sustainable basis”.

Speaking on the programme performance, the SPC said, “overall, the following key achievements, among others, have been recorded to date; considerable empowerment and improved market participation of rural poor farmers. The VCDP has also developed a Commodity Alliance Forum, CAF.”

He explained that the Programme “is an outstanding case of Public/Private/Producers Partnership, 4Ps.

“Under VCDP-Additional Financing, AF, through the CAF/4Ps model, Benue VCDP has leveraged over N7,413,335,000  from the private sector for over 4,842 farmers through alternative financial inclusion.

“This engagement is being deepened for more farmers to leverage resources from the private sector in the new LGAs. The VCDP is significantly contributing to Nigeria’s strategic objective of food security. Benue VCDP-AF has contributed over 49,991 MT of Rice (N7,413,335,000b) and 87,237 MT of cassava (N 3.925 billion) to the Nigerian food security and N11,338,335,000 to the Benue economy.’

He stated that the programme’s “establishment of processing centres is providing food security, economic opportunity for rural dwellers and has increased the market share of local rice in Nigeria.”

Presentations were also made by the IFAD Technical Team Lead, Dr. Samuel Eremie, the Acting National Programme Coordinator, Hajiya Fatima Aliyu, Dr. Onoja Ameh of the Lead Country Programme Advisory Team, the Benue State Agric Commissioner, Dr. Kester kyenge and other stakeholders who made several contributions in the meeting.

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