7,749 Nasarawa farmers benefit from FG’s development programme

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To ensure food sufficiency in Nasarawa State, the Federal Government of Nigeria, in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development, has provided farm products and equipment to 7,749 rice and cassava farmers in the state’s five Local Government Areas through the Value Chain Development Programme.

Lafia, Doma, Wamba, Karu, and Nasarawa are the five LGAs that benefited.

Speaking in Lafia on Thursday, shortly after a Media Roundtable and Visit to the VCDP project sites in Doma and Wamba LGAs of the state, the National Programme Coordinator of the FGN/IFAD VCDP, Fatima Aliyu, who was represented by the Knowledge Management and Communications Advisor of the organisation, Vera Onyilo, said the 7,749 farmers were those who benefited from July 2020 when the programme kicked off in the state, to June 2022.

While expressing gratitude to the Nasarawa State Government for also partnering with the FGN/IFAD VCDP, Aliyu narrated that the programme, which is expected to end in June 2025, had been able to transform the lives of many farmers through the organisation’s numerous programmes which had encouraged bumper harvest in the state, adding that the VCDP was initiated to improve cassava and rice value chain for small scale farmers in the state.

She said, “The VCDP was initiated by the Federal Government of Nigeria and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. Farmers in the state have commended the timely intervention of the programme, which has cushioned the adverse effect of food scarcity and improved their standard of living.

“The programme is basically to address cases of post-harvest losses, environmental degradation, limited access to productive assets and inputs, inadequate financial services and low productivity, among others.

“What we are expecting after this visit is to transform the lives of the rural people. So, what we have done is to build the market infrastructure for them, we are also going to provide milling equipment and support them to package their farm produce, and to sell at competitive market price.”

One of the beneficiaries, Ongburu Ogiri, who is the Chairman of the Ozanawa Multipurpose Cooperative Society, while speaking on behalf of other famers, expressed gratitude to the FGN/IFAD for coming up with the initiative to empower farmers, and promised not to disappoint them.

“This programme has really helped farmers in Nasarawa State and we are so grateful to the FGN/IFAD for implementing the VCDP here in the state. We are promising that we will never disappoint them. We will continue to work hard to ensure food sufficiency in the state and Nigeria at large,” he said.

Meanwhile, over 2,233 farmers from 204 farmers organisations engaging in rice and cassava production, processing and marketing in the participating LGAs were recently empowered with 3,850kg of varieties of seeds, 23,100kg of fertilizers and 154 litres of selective and non-selective herbicides, to ensure food security in the state.