IFAD-VCDP to begin dry season farming to mitigate flood impact

The International Fund for Agricultural Development-Value Chain Development Programme (IFAD-VCDP), says it will begin dry season farming to mitigate the impact of flooding across the most affected nine states in Nigeria.

VCDP’s acting National Programme Coordinator, Dr Fatima Aliyu, said this on the sidelines of Wrap-up of the 5th Implementation Support Mission of the Federal Government/IFAD-VCDP on Saturday in Abuja.

Aliyu listed the states to include: Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Niger, Ogun and Taraba, Kogi, Enugu and Nasarawa, and decried that VCDP states were the worst affected by the current flood ravaging parts of the country.

She said: “Immediate commencement of dry season farming across the states is our priority to ensure food security for the rural farmers whose farms produce were washed away by the flood.”

The Programme Coordinator identified some of the worst affected states to include Kogi and Anambra among others.

Aliyu said six out of the eight local governments in Anambra where the programme was being implemented have been overrun by flood.

She also listed some of the organisation’s recently constructed infrastructure and facilities destroyed by the flood to include processing centres, culverts and mini bridges.

Aliyu said the disaster has not only caused colossal losses to the farmers, but the programme as well as various states of the programme.

“The major activity now for us is to see how we will rehabilitate our farmers. The flood occurred towards the harvest season, especially for rice and washed away our crops.

“So, IFAD’s first priority is achieving food security. How do we relieve our farmers? How do we mitigate the impact of this flood on their food security, because everything is food first?

“Therefore, we are going to increase the quantity of our dry season activities this year so that it will mitigate the effect of flooding. This is to enable them to have some food, especially rice in their homes for consumption this year,” she said.

Immediate commencement of dry season farming across the states is our priority to ensure food security for the rural farmers whose farms produce were washed away by the flood.

Aliyu said IFAD will continue to promote climate smart agriculture it had already started. “At the moment, we will introduce varieties of rice and cassava that are flood tolerant and have better yields and are early maturing.”

She added that they are going to teach the farmers other technologies, “because it is not just the varieties, but the actual grain cultivation of the crops.”

Earlier, IFAD Nigeria Country Director, Mrs Dede Ekuoe, said the objectives of the mission included assessing the progress in programme implementation, and the identification of the challenges confronting farmers and development of pathways to address the challenges.

Ekuoe identified financial inclusion as the key challenge confronting farmers in the country, saying: “Farmers are still having a lot of challenges in accessing credit, so that is something that VCDP is working on.

“More needs to be done by all the partners, not just the programme, but financial institutions and all other actors to enable farmers access to finance to boost production capacity.”

The country director said in terms of progress, the VCDP programme had made significant headway in helping farmers improve their income.

“Farmers are having improved income using innovative approaches to agronomy practices which is very important, because they are helping farmers learn how to produce better among others,” she said.

Also, Acting Director, Programme Coordinating Unit, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Peter Kush, said the wrap-up meeting was to review the progress and the challenges befalling the VCDP project. “It is also to proffer solutions to all the identified challenges.” (NAN)

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