By PAUL EMENIKE
Sept. 24, 2019
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) for rice and cassava, on Tuesday, said that the programme has been extended for three more years to accommodate dry season farming.
Dr Mathew Ahmed, the state Coordinator of the programme made this known, during the VCDP-Additional Financing (AF) state sensitisation and mobilisation in Minna.
“The IFAD-VCDP has been extended for three more years to accommodate dry season farming. The process will help Niger state produce quality rice of international standard,” he said.
Ahmed said that the programme would target over 30,000 farmers with special focus on women and youths, which would involve more Local Government Areas.
“The target of the VCDP AF is to address dry season farming by provision of tube wells, irrigation facilities.
“Also common users’ infrastructures, such as boreholes, construction of roads and support processing activities, to ensure that the rice processed in Niger state meet international standard,” he said.
He said that in the past four years the VCDP had trained 22,000 farmers in the state.
“IFAD is more interested in working with women and youths in the state,” he said.
The coordinator expressed optimism that the state would top the chart in the implementation of the VCDP AF, in the six participating states of Anambra, Ebonyi, Benue, Niger, Ogun and Taraba.
He said that the programme was working towards engaging more youths in the production of certified seeds and agricultural mechanisation.
He said that three more local government areas of Edati, Mokwa and Borgu, would join the already participating five of Wushishi, Shiroro, Bida, Katcha and Kontagora in the VCDP AF.
Ahmed said that the project, which started in 2014 commenced implementation of activities in 2015.
He said that the project which was supposed to wind-up in December 2019, was extended to December 2022, due to its success and the large number of farmers who benefited from it.
Also, Dr Garba Ibrahim, Permanent Secretary, Niger Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, commended the IFAD-VCDP for extending the programme year and bringing three other local government areas on board.
Ibrahim said that the gesture would boost the agricultural output of the state.
He stressed the importance for increase in agricultural production, saying that it was the only way that the economy can be boosted and poverty eradicated.
“All hands must be on deck to ensure that agriculture takes its rightful place.
“Generally, agriculture should be at the front burner in every government’s agenda.
“I believe that it is through agriculture that we can employ more people, increase our economy and reduce youth restiveness,” he said.
He promised that the government would ensure prompt payment of its counterpart fund to the VCDP AF project.
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