By Alex Enebeli
Enugu state government has assured the Federal Government and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)-Value Chain Development programme (VCDP) of its support to rural farmers in order to promote agriculture.
Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi gave the assurance at the IFAD Mission Team on Mid-Term Review in Enugu on Thursday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialised agency of the United Nations that works to address poverty and hunger in rural areas of developing countries.
Five out of the 17 Council Areas of the state, are currently benefiting from the programme on value chain of rice and cassava for sustainable agricultural transformation.
These beneficiaries are Aninri, Enugu East, Nkanu East, Isi Uzo and Udenu Local Government Areas.
Ugwuanyi represented by the State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resource, Dr Matthew Idu, said that the VCDP programme had alleviated poverty in the state.
He assured the team that the State government would continue to support the rural farmers, adding that the rural farmers are the baseline to Agricultural development.
“There is no going back as the state has agric loving governor who made it possible for the state to enrol its name in IFAD programme.
“At a point it is as if it was not going to work but Federal Government ensured the state participated. We have forgotten all the challenge we faced to join because IFAD is doing the right thing.
“Today we have them in five Local Government Areas and we are 17 in the state, it will be extended to other 12 because Enugu sate is 98 agricultural,” he said.
Earlier in his welcome address, the State Programme Coordinator of IFAD, Dr Edward Isiwu, said that the team visited because Enugu State is participating in IFAD-VCDP programme of the country.
He said the team came to check what Enugu state had been doing with its different programmes and components and to see whether what they are doing is in line with IFAD-VCDP objective and its goals of poverty reduction.
“They are here to interact with the State to find out where we were having challenges in execution of this project.
“To look at the projects we have done in the State across the five local government areas. To know if what IFAD is bringing is fully used and in compliance with the set standard’’, Isiwu said.
The IFAD Consultant and Team Leader, Prof. Jones Lemchi, said they were in Enugu to see for themselves what was happening in IFAD Enugu state.
“I am happy that Enugu State is part of VCDP. This is a template for rural agriculture transformation and i am happy they have formidable team’’, he said.
Lemchi added that if the state could harness the principle and model on VCDP, it would not talk of youth unemployment in agriculture.
`This is the brain behind it. I believe in Enugu state here, we will interact as friends and brothers and we are not here to examine anybody.
“Mid term review is a period to look at the programme on what participating states has done and see if they have done it well, the expectation and way forward,” he said.
David Efih, a representative of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, said that the third term review was on additional finance given to Enugu state.
“We are not here to cause problem for anybody. We are here to listen to you, identify your challenges in making VCDP in Enugu a success story and redesign the project to suit in,” he said. (NAN)