FG/IFAD Team Expresses Satisfaction with projects in kogi.

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FG/IFAD Team Expresses Satisfaction with projects in kogi.

Treasure Ochemeje

A team from the Federal Government and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), has inspected some projects executed under the agricultural Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP-AF) in five local government areas (LGAs) of Kogi State.

The IFAD-VCDP Country Programme Officer, Mrs Mariatu Kamara, who led the team on ”9th IFAD Mission Visit To Kogi State”, at the end of inspection on Thursday at Ajaokuta, expressed satisfaction with the impacts VCDP had made in the five benefiting LGAs in Kogi State.

She said the VCDP impact in Kogi was very impressive as it had done lots of trainings and capacity building, saying the team was very impressed with what had been done so far.

Kamara stressed that VCDP remained a value chain development program, and IFAD would really like to see the linkages between the producers, processors and marketers.

She added that the development objective of VCDP was to ensure that women and youths were fully able to acquire income on what they were doing.

”We really want to see the benefits of the program, and to compare what their lives were before, and the impacts of the VCDP in their lives now.

”We really want to see what the VCDP had done to help the beneficiaries generate more income to better their lives which is our interest.

”I think VCDP has made a good start in Kogi, though not at the point where we want the farmers to be at the moment, but there are all indications that they would get there”, she said.

The country programme officer emphasised that IFAD was to complement the efforts of what Nigerian Government was doing in agriculture, to better the lives of the citizenry especially the rural dwellers.

Kamara added: ”I am satisfied with what we have seen so far, though there are areas of improvement, but so far, we are satisfied as a team.

”This is the supervision mission of the Federal Government of Nigeria and IFAD, so we will do our supervision and make a holistic recommendations to the government for the benefits of the people”.

In their separate comments, the National Coordinator, IFAD-VCDP, Mr Garba Bala, and Dr. Peter Kupe from the federal ministry of Agriculture said one of the main focuses of the programme was the emphasis on gender; the participation of women and youths in all IFAD projects.

According to him, the focus of the programme is to generally empower the rural dwellers to improve their methods of farming, production, income, and access to finance.

He advised the beneficiaries to key into the system, follow the training procedures and make sure they comply fully with the instructions of the Commodity Alliance Forum (CAF).

On his part, Dr Chris Peter-Kupe from Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Abuja, said as the supervising ministry they wre very much satisfied with the level of achievements of the programme.

”We are hoping to move at the pace to add value to our expectations in terms of food security, job and wealth creations”, he said.

He urged the people to play their parts and not leave everything to government but see what they could do for the betterment of the country as far as food security was concerned.

In her remarks, the State Programme Coordinator, Kogi IFAD/VCDP, Dr Stella Adejoh, said the VCDP was a commercially oriented, market-led, demand-driven project designed to respond to market needs of end-users of rice and cassava commodities.

Dr Adejoh explained that the goal of the programme was to reduce rural poverty, increase food security and accelerate economic growth on a sustainable basis.

She explained that the supervision mission was usually carried out twice a year but due to COVID-19 pandemic, it had not been done for a while, saying this was the first one for 2021.

She commended the benefiting farmers’ organisations in the five LGAs for their willingness to conform with the procedures of the programme .

She added that the VCDP were also training farmers on saving culture to be able to stand on their own and take ownership of the programme for sustainability at the exit of VCDP in the state.

”So far, across the five benefiting LGAs, we have profiled over 3000 beneficiaries, and we have supported over 800 producers.

”We have also supported processors and marketers across the five benefiting LGAs. We are hopeful the VCDP project would be extended to additional LGAs by IFAD as requested by His Excellency.

”’The project is barely a year old and we trying to find our feet. When we started, we don’t have vehicles but we recently took delivery of some Hilux vehicles and buses that are now aiding our movement.

”We are blessed in Kogi because we have good working environment and the State Government has been very supportive with prompt payment of counterpart fund in the first year.

”We are engaging the State Government, and we believe before the year runs out, His Excellency in his magnanimity will provide the counterpart fund for 2021 that will help us to implement more projects in the state”, shr said.

Adejoh added that VCDP was also supporting marketers with standard weight and measurement to standardise farm produce and ensure that farmers were not cheated.

Some of the beneficiaries of the various projects in their separate comments, applauded VCDP for the gesture, saying it had improved and bettered the lives of rural dwellers in the state.

Alh. Abdullahi Yusuf, Head, Gaskiya Rice Mill Processing Cluster; and Mr Adoga Shata, Chairman Cassava Farmers’ Cluster, Akpamoba, thanked VCDP for the gesture, and assured that the projects would be well secured and utilised.

Shata and Yusuf, however appealed to government for intervention in the areas of good access roads, access to financing and viable market for maximum benefits.

On their parts, the Secretaries of Gaskiya Rice Per-biolers Lokoja, and the New Age Rice Producers, ASCO Camp; Mrs Halimat Jimba and Mrs Hannah Abieba respectively, both thanked VCDP and Kogi Government for improving their lives through the provision of rice processing facilities.

Four persons across the benefiting LGAs, also received tricycle each, provided by Kogi VCDP to aid their business and movement of farm produce.

One of the beneficiaries of the Tricycle, Armstrong Shuaibu, from Olamaboro LGA, thanked VDCP for the gesture and for aiding his life as a physically challenged person.

”As physically challenged persons, the VCDP has given us maximum attention, and today, by the grace of God, I am a proud owner of a tricycle to aid my movement and business through VCDP”, Shuaibu said.

The tricycles’ beneficiaries paid 30 per cent, while VCDP paid the remaining 70 per cent of the total cost.

The projects visted by the team were: Gaskiya Rice Mill Processing centre with Parboiled Shed and Drying Slab, Solar Borehole and Market Stalls at Kungbani, Cassava Demonstration Plot and Youth Entrepreneurs Cassava Seed Production farm in Akpamoba, Lokoja.

Others include: Construction of RiceMill with Perboiled Shed & Drying Slab at ASCO Camp Ajaokuta, where the team had an interactive session with groups of producers, processors and marketers from the five benefiting LGAs.

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