The Federal Government of Nigeria/ International Fund for Agricultural Development (FGN/IFAD)
Assisted Value Chain Development Programme(VCDP-AF) Thursday, August 31, distributed agro input equipment to over 200 Enugu farmers.
Speaking at the flag-off of the event held at the Michael Okpara Square,Enugu, Enugu state Governor, Dr. Peter Mbah, thanked FGN/IFAD for the patnership with the state. He assured continuous support of the state government to FGN/IFAD programmes.
The Governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof Chidiebere Onyia, commended the FGN/IFAD for its commitment in assisting farmers, through it’s programmes aimed at increasing food production in Enugu state.
He also commended IFAD for focusing largely on women empowerment, noting that it will help in reducing poverty .
SPA Ogbuekwe handing over an equipment to a beneficiary
He directed that all the equipment must be given to the farmers and they should be monitored.
The Governor urged the beneficiaries to make good use of the products given to them,inorder to achieve the goals of the empowerment.
In her speech, the National Coordinator of IFAD-VCDP, Dr. Fatima Aliyu, thanked Governor Mbah for paying off all the outstanding counterpart funds(4years arrears).
She said that the Governor’s gesture, showed the commitment of Enugu state government towards development..
Aliyu appealed to the beneficiaries to use the equipment given to them, for the purposes they were meant , stressing that they should not disappoint the state government which had supported the program immensely.
“He paid off all the outstanding counterpart funds for four years. That showed the commitment of the Enugu state government, Please , don’t disappoint our Governor , he cares for you . That’s why he paid all the outstanding counterpart funding. Please, use them well,” Aliyu advised beneficiaries.
Highlighting some of the projects done, Aliyu said that the VCDP has made progress from support to market values. She added that the program had supported over 4,000 farmers, constructed rice and cassava processing centres, provided water, solar powered boreholes, built market stalls, mini bridges,culverts for easy transportation for farmers and uptakers, built creches among others.
The national coordinator said that they have a program tagged, “Gender Action Learning System (GALS) of which Enugu state is one of the Champions .GALS she said, was to change mindset for women.
“We have made impact. We are achieving our program development goals in Enugu state and elsewhere”,she said .
Earlier in a welcome address, Enugu State Programme Coordinator, Dr Edward Isiwu said that the VCDP programme focuses on market development and productivity enhancement along rice and cassava value chains.”It is aimed at reducing rural poverty, increasing food security, and accelerating economic growth on a sustainable basis”.
Isiwu listed some of the equipment given to farmers to include power trillers, water pumps, seed planters, Hummer Mills, nutrient Dense equipment, weighing scales, cassava fufu pounding machines, POS machines, trycles among others.
Isiwu said that they had built 5 cassava Mills and over six Rice Mills and created employment for people.
He disclosed that the programme was a pilot program with Five local government areas participating. They are Aninri, Udenu, Enugu East, Nkanu east and Isi-Uzo.
In an interview, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Mike Ogbuekwe said that the event was different from others because emphasis was on processing of agro products.
“We have been producing and connecting our farmers agro -allied products so that we have raw materials that we need for all our industries sourced locally from Enugu State to grow the economy of the state, ” Ogbuekwe said.
Fielding question on the measures put in place to mitigate flood, he said, “currently , the state government is acquiring and clearing thousands of hectares of lands in the upland areas.
“Flooding happens in lowland and riverine areas. We can start focusing our farming activities on the upland areas and we know that whatever we are farming in the lowland areas is planted and harvested before flood sets in while the Federal Government sort out with Cameroon on the opening of dam and causing flooding in Nigeria”, he said.
On his part, the Chairman of Isi-Uzo local government area, Hon. Obiora Obeagu, said that the Agricultural development program in Enugu state has been on in the past, and presently, the state Governor, Dr. Peter Mbah, had taken it higher to be an activity to the farmers.”The programme has improved food security,”he said.
Obeagu explained that when it comes to increasing the agricultural production of Enugu State, they brought in investors, acquired hectares of lands to start large scale agriculture”.
On monitoring of the beneficiaries of the equipment distributed, hè said that they will monitor the beneficiaries in his local government area to ensure they are using the equipment . The Chairman said that they had done it in the past and will continue to monitor. He disclosed that they will work with IFAD, “It’s all about partnership”,Obeagu said.
A beneficiary, Casmir Odo, thanked the state government and VCDP for the gift of a tricycle. He promised to put it in use and make money with it to empower other people.
Odo advised other beneficiaries not to sell the equipment given to them but to use them for the purposes they were meant for
Author: Maureen Ikpeama