The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)-assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) has advised beneficiaries in Anambra to reinvest their profits to sustain rice and cassava production tempo.
Prof. Ben Okpukpara, Team leader of the sixth IFAD-VCDP Supervision Mission to the state made the call while interacting with beneficiaries of the programme on Monday at various farm locations.
Okpukpara, who commended the performances of farmers and rated the state as the best across the country, also attributed the progress to the passion of Gov. Willie Obiano in the agricultural sector.
The team leader commended the proactive measures put in place by the state VCDP office to ensure the development and success of the project.
“I am impressed with what is happening in Anambra VCDP.
“Sustainability strategies and institutions’ development are the key focus of the programme needed to largely ensure sustainability of production, especially after the programme winds up,” he said.
He stressed the need for farmers to also initiate measures to promote on-farm processing of produce to reduce transport cost and add value to production.
Okpukpara, an agricultural economist at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, also urged the farmers to cultivate the habit of insuring their produce.
Presenting a summary of its activities for 2019, the state VCDP Programme Coordinator, Mr Nnamdi Agwuncha disclosed that the programme trained 2,104 rice and cassava farmers.
“We also organised business management training for 500 beneficiaries for them to acquire skills for making agricultural enterprise more profitable.
“The programme constructed a total of 20 kilometers of roads and developed over 200 hectares for rice and cassava cultivation,” he said.
The leader of Great Mind Rice Farm, Mrs Ngozi Ebue said the training provided by IFAD-VCDP on best agronomical practices since 2015 had scaled up production and improved their living standards.
“They exposed us to training on seedlings which scaled up our production and profits. Most of us have become car and house owners,’’ she said.
The Traditional Prime Minister of Ifite-Ogwari, Chief George Okoye, also a farmer, promised that they would continue to protect the road constructed by IFAD which had eased transportation of farm produce.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the team is on a three-day supervision mission to evaluate the implementation process of the programme and how the farmers could perform better.
Some of the areas visited included; Omor Great Mind Rice Farm, Nnedinma Rice Processing Mill, Omor and Iyi-Akwa Ifite Ogwuari road all in Ayamelum Local Government Area and Achalla Rice Processing Mill in Awka North Local Government Area.