The Minister of Agriculture Chief Dr Audu Ogbeh has inaugurated the construction and rehabilitation of 22 rural roads covering 59.09 kms across the seven participating states under the IFAD-assisted climate change adaptation and agri-business support programme (CASP).
Ogbeh made this known in Daura on Monday when he launched the construction of the 10-km Tambu-Makkah Sabro road under the programme.
He said that CASP was one of the IFAD assisted programmes being implemented in seven states located in the Savannah belt of Nigeria.
He said the goal of the programme was to reduce rural poverty, increase food security, accelerate sustainable economic growth and reduce the vulnerability of smallholder farmers, including youth and women.
He said that the Federal Government was providing critical rural infrastructure as a tool to reduce the poverty level among rural dwellers and create the enabling environment for the rejuvenation of the rural economy.
The minister identified the participating states as Borno, Yobe, Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara, stressing that the programme was also aimed at unlocking the vast potential in the rural areas.
He urged the benefiting communities to ensure regular maintenance of the rural roads to achieve a long-lasting lifespan.
“I urge the communities to form a road maintenance group which would assist in simple repairs,’’
Ogbeh added that under the CASP programme, a total of additional 375 kms. earthen roads would be rehabilitated and 243 kms. of new rural roads would be constructed.
According to him, the project will benefit 7,000 people across the participating states.
He said his ministry was intervening in the provision of 997 solar-powered boreholes which would benefit 5,000 people across the benefiting communities.
He added that a total of 4,000 hectares of rangelands would be developed to cater for the pastoral requirements of 3,000 herdsmen, adding that the project would commence with a pilot of 50 hectares per state.
He said that in Daura Local Government Area, 600 hectares of land in Madobi and Turumni villages had been earmarked for the commencement of the pilot programme, stressing that holistic land management would be taught and practised.
He added that the Federal Government would establish 3,000 hectares of community woodlot, shelter-belts and ensure the afforestation of the fast depleting vegetation across the participating states.
Ogbeh said that an estimated 3,000 vulnerable men and women would benefit from the programme.
“We were collaborating with the National Agency for the Great Green Wall across 18 communities.”
Earlier in his address, the National Programme Coordinator of CASP, Alhaji Lawal Idah, commended the minister for finding time to be in Daura for the programme.
He said the programme was aimed at reducing rural poverty, increasing food security and economic growth on a sustainable basis
The programme, he said, had received wider acceptability among rural dwellers, traditional rulers and community leaders.
He added that the programme comprised four components of productivity enhancement and climate change resilience, enterprise development for youth and women, instructional development and management and coordination.
He said that CASP was supporting the production of cash crops such as maize, rice, sorghum, wheat, rice, cowpea and groundnut, adding that each of the participating states produces a variety of crops.
Idah said the programme was being implemented at the community level with the facilitation of federal, state and local governments, while the community-driven development (CDD) implementation model produces the fourth tier which is the Community Development Associations (CDAs).
In his remarks, Alhaji Munir Yakubu, the Deputy Gov. of Katsina State, who doubles as the Commissioner for Agriculture, commended the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and IFAD for finding the state worthy of benefiting from the programme.
He said that the state government had in the last three years, placed priority on agriculture by providing subsidised agricultural inputs to farmers and training and re-training of agricultural extension officers.
The NIGERIA NEWS reports that the event attracted all stakeholders in agriculture and IFAD programme officers from the seven participating states.