The International Fund for Agricultural Development assisted Value Chain Development Programme (IFAD-VCDP) said it has concluded arrangements for this year’s farming season in the six participating states across the country.
Dr Ameh Onoja, its National Programme Coordinator, made this known on Friday to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) after a stakeholders meeting with farmers in Minna.
“Our inputs and implements are ready for the participating farmers across the country. So we want to know whether the farmers are ready,’’ he said.
Onoja, who was represented by Dr Unamma Victor, Agriculture Production Adviser of the programme, said that the VCDP would not support farmer groups without verifying their business plans for the year.
He commended VCDP farmers in the state for successfully embracing the programme, adding, ‘‘we are happy with the farmers in Niger State, because we have seen the positive outcome’’.
Similarly, Mr Jacob Olorunyomi, a VCDP consultant, said that there were 255 farmer organisations in the state with 5,238 members.
Olorunyomi, who verifies the farmer’s business plans, said that the farmers comprising 4,212 male and 1,026 female would cultivate rice and cassava on 4,991 hectares of land.
“The farmers are committed. From what we saw in the field, the VCDP farmers in Niger state can feed Nigeria with rice and cassava.
“We also observed that many youths have taken to cultivation of rice and cassava, so they need encouragement,’’ he said.
Also speaking, Mr Isaac Yusuf, Chairman, Cassava Growers Union in Kontagora area of the state who spoke on behalf the farmers assured the programme that they were ready for cultivation.
“We are ready; in the next six month the VCDP will get a positive result,’’ he said.
Yusuf said that the programme has increased food production and improved the lives of participating farmers in the state.
He appealed to the state government to fund the programme in order to ensure its sustainability.
NAN reports that the six states of Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Niger, Ogun and Taraba are participating in the five-year programme that commenced in Feb. 2015.
NAN also reports that the Federal Government/IFAD assisted VCDP is a donor agency project that targets poor rural households engaged in production, processing and marketing of rice and cassava commodities.
The programmes aimed at enhancing smallholder productivity– and thus increasing the volume and quality of marketable produce – by strengthening farmers’ organizations as well as supporting smallholder production. (NAN)