By Sunday John
No fewer than 120 poor rural rice farmers in Nasarawa State on Saturday, received inputs support from the Federal Government/International Fund for Agricultural Development assisted Value Chain Development Programme (FG/IFAD- VCDP).
Dr Fatima Aliyu, National Programme Coordinator VCDP, inaugurated the distribution of the farm inputs including improved rice seed and fertilisers in Lafia.
Represented by Mrs Vera Onyilo, the Knowledge Management and Communication Advisor of VCDP, the national coordinator said that the beneficiaries were the most vulnerable rice farmers in their communities.
They were drawn from Lafia, Doma, Nasarawa and Wamba Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
She said that the 120 beneficiaries comprised of 77 female and 43 rice farmers.
According to Aliyu, the distribution was made possible through the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) COVID-19 Rural Poor Stimulus Facility grant.
She explained FG/IFAD-VCDP is domiciled at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to improve incomes and food security.
“The project is aimed at improving the incomes and food security of poor rural households engaged in production, processing and marketing of rice and cassava on sustainable basis.
“2,793 vulnarable farmers from Nasarawa, Enugu, Kogi, Anambra, Benue, Niger, Taraba, Ebonyi and Ogun states would benefit under the arrangement to guaranty food security in the country,” the national coordinator added.
Also, Dr Eunice Adgidzi, Nasarawa State Coordinator of VCDP, said that the 120 farmers got 3, 800 kg of improved rice seeds, (faro 44), 315 bags of fertiliser (NPK and Urea) and 120 litres of selective and non-selective herbicides.
Adigidzi said the initiative was aimed at alleviating the pains and suffering of the poorest of poor rice farmers in rural areas of the state.
“It is expected to stimulate and re-invigorate vulnerable rice farmers selected across the four benefiting LGAs whose livelihood and incomes were most hit and worsened by COVID-19 pandemic.
“We assure our headquarters and other supporting partners that they should prepare to get excellent result and improved output from Nasarawa State,” she added.
She, therefore, promised that they would provide quality extension services to ensure that the objective of the grant is achieved.
On his part, Nuhu Oshafu, Nasarawa State Commissioner for Agriculture and Water Resources, lauded FG and IFAD for the VCDP and promised continuous support to ensure the success of the programme.
The commissioner represented by Nuhu Bunu, Permanent Secretary of the ministry, said the Gov. Abdullahi Sule led administration had prioritised Agriculture as part of efforts towards making the state an investment hub.
He explained that the state government was willing to collaborate with development partners towards improving agriculture to meet global standard both in quantity and quality food production .
The commissioner, therefore, called on beneficiaries to utilise the inputs to achieve the best result in line with the objectives of the grant.
Responding on behalf of the farmers, Kasimu Soja, thanked the government for the support and promised to use them judiciously. (NAN).