The Federal Government, in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development's Value Chain Development Programme, has distributed over N25 million worth of rice agricultural inputs to farmers in Enugu.
The supplies were distributed on Saturday during the beginning of the Agency's 2022/2023 dry season. Distribution of agricultural inputs at the IFAD/VCDP office in Enugu.
The Nigerian News Agency reports that the items include Rice Seed Bags, NPK Fertilizer Bags, Indorama Urea Fertilizer Bags, Selective and Non-selective Herbicides.
Others are, rice seeders and harvesters, destoning machines, water pumps, rice milling machines, cassava processing machines
Addressing farmers, the Program's National Coordinator, Dr. Fatima Aliyu, said that the program focused on poor farmers in rural areas.
Aliyu, who was represented by the Agricultural Production Advisor of the Chain Development Program, Dr. Chyka Unamma, thanked the farmers for their enthusiasm in the program.
"We support farmers in groups and not individually, and according to our research, rice grows well in the dry season," he said.
Therefore, he encouraged VCDP-IFAD farmers in Enugu to do more and noted that everything related to VCDP-IFAD in Enugu State was answered to their prayers.
“What refers to rice and cassava is our responsibility and that is why it is called a value chain; this is because VCDP supports farmers in production, processing and marketing.
“Of the nine states that the VCDP intervenes in, Enugu is still one of the best and needs to do more to attract more support.”
IFAD/VCDP State Program Coordinator Dr. Edward Isiwu said the state was initially planning 59 hectares to grow rice in this dry season.
He said that Enugu received an additional 43 hectares from the national, making it 96 hectares for this dry season rice cultivation.
“Today is one of those days where we have been doing this kind of thing and this is the fourth time we have done this in two years that we suspended IFAD-VCDP activities in Enugu.
“The first was in January 2021 due to the dry season and we have two seasons; Wet and dry seasons,” she said.
“We are starting dry season agriculture and farmers have prepared their land for the season.
“We tried this dry season farming last year and there was a bumper crop, I think this year will be better.
"Previous distributions gave good results, so farmers should go to their collection centers and claim their supplies," advised Isiwu.
On the same note, Dr. Mathew Idu, Commissioner of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said that "stomach infrastructure" replaces other infrastructure.
He thanked coordinators at all levels for the program and urged farmers to take advantage of it and get out of poverty.
The Director of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Southeast Zone, Dr. Benjamin Puja, praised the coordinator for a wonderful scorecard.
He said that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture was proud to identify with what FGN/FIDA-VCDP was doing in the state.
“With this project supporting farmers, especially women who make up the majority of the farming population in Nigeria, I am proud of you,” he said.
A traditional ruler, Igwe Abel Nwobodo, the great patron of the traditional rulers of the state, prayed for God's favor on the State Coordinator and his staff.
One of the beneficiaries, Mr. Lawrence Chijioke, president of the Providence Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society, said that IFAD-VCDP had changed its narrative.
Chijioke, whose group benefited from a large number of farm teams, said: VCDP will not only support them, but will properly follow up on the supports provided to them.
Therefore, I am very proud to be among the beneficiaries of the program and I urged the donor agency, FIDA, to extend its interventions to other LGAs in the State.
Source Credit: NAN