The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) on Friday expressed optimism that the country would sustain the programme when it terminates by June 30, 2020.
Dr Ameh Onoja, National Programme Coordinator, VCDP ame this known in an interview to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) during the programme’s sixth supervision mission to Bida in Niger.
“We have discoursed severally with the VCDP farmers across the country and discovered that sustainability of the programme was a challenge.
“We are confident that our stakeholders will sustain the programme because of the achievements recorded by our farmers,’’ he said.
NAN reports that the country’s stakeholders in the programme include the three tiers of government, farmers, processors and marketers.
Onoja said that the Nigeria’s agriculture policy now encouraged domestic production toward food security, job creation and enhanced income for the benefitting farmers.
“We cannot continue to import what we can produce. We have all the facilities to produce high quality rice of international standard, so why import it.
“The IFAD-VCDP wants to encourage youths to go into farming, especially now that the Federal Government is encouraging local production,’’ he said.
Onoja said that the previous supervision teams to Niger had attested to the fact that the programme was doing well in the state.
“We hope that the level of success recorded so far will be sustained. We are happy with the enthusiasm shown by the beneficiaries.
“They have given good testimonies of the programme thus creation of more jobs and increased income.’’
He noted that the programme ensured that the farmers produced high quality products and created markets for same.
Similarly, Mr Appeh Auta, the Senior Adviser International Donor Partners to the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe said that with the arable land and committed VCDP farmers of the programme were doing well in the state.
Auta said that before the intervention, the farmers recorded two to three tonnes per hectare of land but now they cultivate six tonnes and above.
“I am happy that the farmers have keyed into the VCDP from production to marketing and their products can compete anywhere in the world,’’ he said.
Also, Dr Mathew Ahmed, the State Programme Coordinator, said that benefitting farmers had been sensitised on the need to sustain the programme.
“We have set up a committee for the maintenance of the IFAD-VCDP structures and facilities.
“The committee will use part of the proceeds collected from users of the facilities to sustain the programme,’’ he said.
Earlier, Rev. James Adams, Manager, Zaworo Rice Processing Centre, Bida told the supervision team that the centre was using the proceeds from its VCDP warehouse to maintain the facility.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Federal Government is implementing a six year programme for rice and cassava VCDP in the six states of Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Niger Ogun and Taraba.
The programme prepared in 2010 was approved for an IFAD loan of 74.4 million dollars and grant of 500, 000 dollars in April 2012.
NAN further reports that the programme is scheduled to complete its projects in Dec. 31, 2019 and will terminate by June 30, 2020.