By Abiodun Lawal
The Federal Government and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have commended Ogun Government over the utilisation of Value-Chain Development Programme Additional Funding (VCDP-AF) to empower farmers.
A joint supervision team, led by IFAD Country Director, Dede Ekoue, gave the commendation during the 5th Federal Government/IFAD joint supervision mission’s visit to the state on Thursday in Abeokuta.
Ekoue expressed satisfaction with the number of youths and local farmers trained and empowered through the agricultural intervention programmes.
The country director explained that through the programme, productivity of rice had increased by 47 per cent and cassava 61 per cent.
She stated that the federal government and IFAD were pleased with the development, adding that the objective of the programme was to empower farmers to grow more and improve their livelihood as well as enhance food security.
Ekoue stressed that the visit was also aimed at addressing any challenge that the programme might be facing, assuring that it would be thoroughly looked into with a view to providing stronger support for farmers by strengthening the VCDP programme.
“We are pleased to have in this mission the state government officials and also the federal ministry officials.
“This speaks volume about the importance that the federal government is giving to this programme in Ogun,” she said.
In his remarks, leader of the technical team, Dr Samuel Eremie, stated that the team was on an implementation support mission, unlike the regular supervision missions, where emphasis were on targets and achievement of targets.
“We have identified a number of issues that we needed to discuss, both at the national and state levels, with the implementation of the project in a way that we can get it on course.
“The report is quite encouraging; they have identified some key issues, including the late approval of budget and low release of funds by the state government.
“But, we are pleased to have the assurance from the state government that approval had recently been given to the project and we are hoping that in future, such approval will be much more forthcoming,” he said.
Dr Dotun Sorunke, Permanent Secretary, Ogun Ministry of Agriculture, maintained that the mission would be coming around occasionally to assess the impact and the progress of the project.
Sorunke added that the IFAD/VCDP programme had assisted over 13,000 farmers, noting that the team’s visit was to assess the impact of the programme on the people, farmers and agricultural development in the state.
“The current administration, led by Gov. Dapo Abiodun, is focusing on agricultural development and that is why we have the home-grown World Bank-assisted programme,” he said. (NAN)