IFAD lauds Enugu govt on  VCDP implementation, as national Cordinator assures programme expansion in the state

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) , has commended Enugu state Government for it’s commitment in the successful  implementation of the Value Chain Development Programme in the state, assuring expansion of farmlands and inclusion of more farmers in the programme .

Associate Vice President, Programme Management Department, IFAD, Dr. Donal Brown gave the commendation Wednesday , March 13,2024, while speaking on his impression after his visit to the FGN/ IFAD Assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) Dry Season Rice  farm,Nenwe,Aninri Local Government Area and other projects in the state.

Dr Brown in a group picture with his team and farmers

IFAD AVP interacting with the farmers

Pix- IFAD team interacting with the farmers

Dr. Brown who was on inspection of IFAD programes in Nigeria but chose to visit Enugu, said IFAD invested over $1Billion in Nigeria’s Value Chain programme. He interacted with the farmers at the Chiamaka and Chinazaekpere Rice farms. He ,expressed satisfaction with what he saw and heard. He disclosed that the VCDP programme was expected to be sustained when they had gone. He noted that he never knew about ‘ dry rice farming ” until his interaction with the women farmers whom he  met planting rice at the Rice farm. Dr .Brown said he will take that knowledge home.

In his speech, the Commissioner for Agriculture, and Agro- Industrialization, Patrick Ubru commended IFAD for it’s partnership with Enugu state Government.. He thanked the Associate Vice President for coming down to the farm to see things for himself, saying,” it has an impact . For the top  management of IFAD to come into the farm, it speaks volumes”.

He said the state is targeting the production of one million metric tons of rice annually to meet local demands and ensure food security.

Ubru, who described IFAD as a big friend, said,   “IFAD is a big friend to Enugu state. Enugu State Government will at all times provide the counterpart fund. “We need to mechanize the farming , improve on our production”.

He said in order to meet the target, the ministry has aggressively been supporting small holder farmers, and also making efforts to engage large scale farmers to increase production through mechanisation.

“As a state we have seen the benefits of adoption of dry season farming, how it increases the yield so we will continue to invest on it.Ubru said the government was ready to provide the needed counterpart funding for VCDP in the state and support implementation of IFAD programmes.He thanked the officials of IFAD led by the Brown for coming to the farms to get first-hand experience of what the farmers are doing.

“We pray that this relationship will continue and our smallholder’s farmers` income will increase and their families will be happy, “he said.

Leaders  of the women Rice farmers’ groups, Evelyn Nwalor of Chiamaka farm and Cecilia Michael  of Chinazaekpere farm had told Dr Brown how VCDP had helped them increased  their yields.  .

Evelyn Nwalor said, “What we get here is much. One group was doing it  but when we saw it’s beneficial we joined . We eat from the produce, sell and store some. We train our children from the sales we made, . We have been doing it for two years   We get more yield in the Dry season  rice farming than we got in the raining season rice.. In dry season farming, we control water ,we control fertilizer. . VCDP taught us how to plant, using bond so that water can be retained.”.

Pix 1- SPA Onyia Jnr( L) Commissioner for Agric,Ubru(R)

Pix 2- A female farmer in the Five hectares Rice Farmland

Pix- Dr Brown( Center) being received at Angel rice mill

On how they sell their produce, Nwalor said ” Before we used to go to the market to sell. We measured our rice with bushel but when VCDP came, they brought off-takers. They  taught us how to measure the rice with scales. It is more beneficial and less stressful. We make more money without the stress of processing the rice.

On the challenges they faced, Nwalor said they had problem using fuel pumping machines because of high cost of fuel. When they complained, VCDP provided them with solar pumping machines  She commended Enugu state Government , IFAD, VCDP for the programme.

Pix- The women farmers working at the Rice farm

Pix- IFAD’s Dr. Brown( L ) Isiwu (behind the farmer)

On her part, Cecilia Michael of Chinazaekpere farm said through the training they got from VCDP and it’s Gender Action Learning System ( GALS), they were empowered and were able to train  women and improved in their farm production.  

On the crops they farm, she said they farm rice, oil palm, okro, cassava ,vegetables,, Soybeans, ,cashew among others 

 Pix- Farmer Nwalor speaking.

She said from the money they made from the sells of their crops, some of them have piggery farms , provision stores and personal farms ,adding that  they were also insured and when they had problems they went to the insurance company and they solved the problem for them  She appealed for more support from the IFAD/ VCDP.

Speaking ,  the National Coordinator of VCDP, Dr. Fatima Aliyu, commended Enugu state government and the farmers for their commitments toward the success recorded in the programme . She  said they decided to go for the Dry season  rice farming because it is more profitable.

On plans of expansion, Dr Aliyu gave the assurance that there will be an expansion in Enugu, noting that there will be more farmlands and more people will be brought in. “in the next farming season, we are going to reach more people. I am not going to let out the number for now,” she said.

In a brief remarks, the State Coordinator of IFAD/VCDP, Enugu ,Dr Edward Isiwu, said VCDP were in Five local government areas in Enugu. They built  rice processing centres, established Gender Action Learning System (GALS)and had trained a lot of women and youths on  Nutrition and other programmes. 

 Pix- Agric faire at Angel rice mill

Interaction with GALS trai h

At the Angel farm ( Rice mill) the Associate Vice President Interacted with the  women undergoing training at the IFAD/ VCDP Gender Action Learning System (GALS). They testified how VCDP training program has empowered them and transformed their husbands,to be helpful.

President and Chief Executive Officer of Angel Farms, Mrs Nnenna Eji said the intervention of IFAD-VCDP has enhanced her production capacity.

Ejim, who is also a a rice processor, said initially her production was between four to six bags daily but at the moment, the factory upgraded to 24 bags daily through the provision of four additional machines by IFAD.

“Initially we have only four rice milling machines which is an impediment for us meeting with demands, and enhance income but IFAD gave us additional four which helped in boosting our production.

“The organisation also links us with the market where we can sell our product because one thing is to produce but it is meaningless producing without measuring.

Pix- National Coordinator VCDP Dr. Aliyu, middle

Earlier, the Associate Vice  President ,Dr. Donal Brown paid a courtesy visit on the Governor of Enugu state, Dr. Peter Mbah ,at Government House, Enugu, where he told the Governor about his visit to Enugu,

Responding , Governor Mbah, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Ifeanyi Ossai,  thanked IFAD for their  support to the  state, saying ,”We need agriculture  if we must migrate from poverty.”

He assured  that the state government will  improve on what IFAD has done. “We must work towards improving what you have done. I want you to  know that we are grateful of what IFAD has given us ,” Mbah’ said.

Author- Maureen Ikpeama

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