The Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) in Kogi under the FGN/IFAD assisted project, has begun distribution of irrigation pumps and tube wells to farmers to boost dry season rice production in the state.
The Commissioner for Agriculture in Kogi, Mr David Apeh, who inaugurated the distribution on Tuesday in Lokoja, thanked the Kogi VCDP for the “great feat”.
Apeh, who was represented by Mr Okolo Isiaka, the Director Agricultural Services of the ministry, urged the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the items for the benefit of their families, the state and the nation in general.
Speaking from his past experience in the state, the commissioner appealed to the beneficiaries not to sell the equipment but take ownership.
Earlier, the State Coordinator of Kogi VCDP, Dr Stella Adejoh, said that the pumps were distributed to farmers to enhance their productivity during 2021/2022 dry season farming.
She explained that the beneficiaries of the items were farmers already captured on their data base in three out of five benefiting local government areas in the state for dry season rice production.
According to her, the three major rice producing local government areas are Lokoja, Ibaji and Ajaokuta along the river banks with favourable environment for rice production during dry season.
She stressed that the Kogi VCDP is intervening in five out of the 21 local government areas of the state in cassava and rice value chain, assuring that the programme would be extended to other local government areas with additional funding.
She said the beneficiaries had paid their matching grant of 30 per cent or 35 per cent depending on their categories out of the total cost of the tools, while governments paid the remaining 70 per cent or 65 per cent as the case may be through the VCDP.
The coordinator emphasised that the essence of the matching grant was to enable the farmers show commitment and take ownership of the items given to them.
“We are not only giving you the tools but we are also teaching you the best agronomy practices to increase your yield and enhance your production,” she said.
She commended the farmers for doing very well during the last dry season rice production and urged them to improve on their performances to make the government proud.
Adejoh reiterated that the development objective of VCDP “is to ensure food security, empower the rural farmers to lift them out of poverty and enhance the economy on sustainable basis.
She expressed her delight on the distribution and the impacts the VCDP had made in achieving its goals and objectives in the state.
Adejoh thanked Gov. Yahaya Bello for his commitment towards the project, noting that the governor was always interested in making food available for the citizens.
Two of the beneficiaries, Malam Kudu Muhammed, Chairman Kabawa Cluster and Hajia Sekinat Yakubu, a female farmer, thanked the government and IFAD/VCDP for the gesture.
They promised that the tools would be used for the intended purpose to enhance their productivity.(NAN)