FGN, IFAD, distribute tools worth N25m to farmers in Enugu

The Federal Government in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development-Value Chain Development Programme, has distributed rice farm inputs worth more than N25million to farmers in Enugu.

The inputs were distributed on Saturday during the beginning of the Agency’s 2022/2023 dry season Agro-input distribution at the IFAD/VCDP Office in Enugu.

The items include bags of rice seeds, bags of NPK fertilisers, bags of Indorama Urea fertilisers, herbicides of selective and non-selective.

Others are rice planters and harvesters, de-stoning machines, water pumps, rice milling machines, cassava processing machines

Addressing the famers, the National Programme Coordinator, Dr. Fatima Aliyu, said the programme is focused on the rural poor farmers.

Aliyu, represented by the VCDP Agricultural Production Adviser, Dr Chyka Unamma, appreciated the farmers for their enthusiasm in the programme.

“We support farmers in groups and not individuals and from our research, rice does well in dry season,” he said.

He therefore encouraged farmers to do more and noted that everything about IFAD-VCDP in Enugu State was prayers answered.

“Whatever concerns rice and cassava is our responsibility and that is why it is called value chain; this is because VCDP supports farmers in production, processing and marketing.

“Out of the nine states VCDP intervenes, Enugu remains one of the best and needs to do more to attract more support.”

The State Programme Coordinator IFAD/VCDP, Dr Edward Isiwu, said Enugu is planning 59 hectares initially to grow rice this dry season, and has received additional 43 hectares from the national, making it 96 hectares for the season.

“Today is one of those days we have been doing this type of thing and this is the fourth time we are doing this in two years that we took off the activities of IFAD-VCDP in Enugu.

“The first one was in January 2021 for the dry season and we have two seasons; Wet and Dry seasons. We are kicking off the dry season farming and the farmers have prepared their land in readiness for the season.

“We tried this dry season farming last year and there was a bumper harvest, I believe this year will be better. The previous distributions yielded good results, so farmers should go to their collection centres and claim their inputs,” Isiwu said.

Out of the nine states VCDP intervenes, Enugu remains one of the best and needs to do more to attract more support.

Similarly, the State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Mathew Idu, said “stomach infrastructure” supersedes other infrastructure.

He thanked the coordinators at all levels for the programme and urged farmers to take advantage of it and get themselves out of poverty.

The Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, South East zone, Dr. Benjamin Puja, praised the coordinator for a wonderful scorecard, adding that the Ministry is proud to identify with what FGN/IFAD-VCDP is doing in the state.

“With the support of this project to farmers, especially women who form the largest part of the farming population in Nigeria, I’m just proud of you,” he said.

The grand patron of traditional rulers in the state, Abel Nwobodo, prayed for God’s favour upon the State Coordinator and his staff.

One of the beneficiaries and Chairman, Providence Multi-Purpose Co-operative Society, Lawrence Chijioke, said the IFAD-VCDP has changed the narrative.

Chijioke, whose group benefited from lots of agriculture equipment, said the VCDP not only supports you, but will adequately follow up on the support.

“Therefore, I am so proud to be among the beneficiaries of the programme and I urge the donor agency, IFAD, to extend their interventions to other LGAs in the State,” he said. (NAN)

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