By Stephen Adeleye
Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi has promised more support for the Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) to boost agriculture and ensure food security in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that VCDP is a Federal Government programme supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (FGN/IFAD-VCDP) to sustainably enhance rural incomes and food security.
Bello gave the assurance on Friday, when the IFAD Country Director, Ms. Dede Ekoue, led a delegation on a courtesy visit to the Government House, Lokoja,
He noted that Kogi used to be called a ‘civil service’ state in spite its agrarian endowment, saying his administration had turned it into agriculture friendly and the real food basket of the nation.
Bello appreciated the team for the value the IFAD-VCDP activities was adding to the farmers and agricultural produce in the state.
The governor urged the organisation to give more support to farmers especially those whose farmlands were destroyed by the recent flood.
“We are hoping that we will be able to support them greatly using every resource that is available to us.
“Kogi is securely safe to carry out all your programmes, we will continue to give all the necessary support for all your programmes particularly the VCDP.
“Our own commitment would not fall short in terms of counterpart funding and every other thing that you will require to support VCDP,” Bello said.
He said that agriculture remained the highest employer of labour in the country, assuring that his government would continue to take full benefit of it.
He restated that the government and good people of Kogi, would continue to partner with IFAD to ensure the citizens have full benefit of its endowed resources.
The governor commended President Muhammadu Buhari for what his administration had been doing for the country in terms of agriculture.
Earlier, Ekoue said the team was in the state for a Mid-Term Review (MTR) of IFAD-VCDP activities being implemented in nine states including Kogi.
According to her, the objective is to access all the progress made, look critically at challenges to be addressed, and opportunities to further leverage on to scale up the impacts.
“We want to do our work based on evidence which shows that youths are priority for Kogi State. We salute your dedication to gender equality as well as youth inclusion.
“We already known that your leadership had been instrumental for the results we have achieved in Kogi and we want it sustained,’’ she said.
Ekoue thanked the state government for all the support given to VCDP activities, especially the prompt payment of its counterpart funding, and hoped it continued.
The country director sympathised with the government and people of Kogi over the recent flood that ravaged the state.
She noted that IFAD-VCDP was already given its support to farmers, who were victims in the state through the distribution of farm inputs to boost dry season farming activities.
In his vote of thanks, the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr David Apeh, said the government always takes seriously all donor supported project.
Apeh noted that the partnership with VCDP had resulted in boosting food security, enhanced economic growth and improved the wellbeing of farmers in the state.
Earlier, the State Programme Coordinator (SPC), Dr Stella Adejoh, thanked the governor for full commitment to VCDP activities in the state.
She equally thanked MTR team, and expressed her readiness to learn from them for effective and efficient programmes’ implementation in the state. (NAN)