The International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, through its Value Chain Development Programme, VCDP has distributed about 52 Million Naira worth of farm inputs to 300 cassava and rice farmers in Benue, North Central Nigeria.
IFAD made the distribution in collaboration with the Nigerian Government on Tuesday in Makurdi, the Benue State Capital.
Benue State Program Coordinator of IFAD, Mr. Emmanuel Igbaukum announced this during the flag off ceremony of the distribution exercise in Makurdi.
According to him, “This year, 300 farmers are to benefit from agro inputs support for both cassava and rice farmers amounting to N52,000,000.00.
He explained that youths benefiting from the program would be supported with Tricycles, Power Tillers, Knack Sack Sprayers, Water Pumps, Thrashers, Direct seeders, Rice Milling Machines, Rice destoners, Weighing Scales, Bag Closers and Packaging Materials.
“Other inputs include Grater, Pressers, Wet Hammer, Fryers, Sieving Machine, Weighing Scales and Bag Closer,” Igbaukum said.
He said IFAD-VCDP had prioritized non diversion of fertilizers and other agro inputs as well as quality of fertilizers to also be distributed to the farmers.
The Program Coordinator maintained that IFAD-VCDP would not tolerate any report about substandard fertilizers being sold to farmers according to reports stressing that it cannot be tolerated.
He emphasized that it was the responsibility of the office to ensure that only high-quality fertilizers reach the destination of farmers in order to boost productivity.
Mr. Igbaukum appealed to Benue State Government to support the IFAD Project through timely release of counterpart funds for effective implementation of the project in the state to meet its mandate.
On her part, the National Programme Coordinator of IFAD, Dr. Fatima Aliyu, urged the state government to sustain support to IFAD through timely payment of its counterpart funds.
Aliyu who was represented by the National Procurement Officer of the program, Mr. Baba Yakubu assured the state government of a sustained collaboration to improve and sustain the livelihoods as well as income of farmers in the state.
The Acting Permanent Secretary, Benue State Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Nat Adzuu, lauded the intervention of IFAD particularly the 2023 input distribution.
He noted that the intervention came at a critical time that prices of farm inputs had skyrocketed.
“This made it very difficult for our small holder farmers to attain and expand their production potentials,” Adzuu said.
In the meantime, representative of Commodity Alliance Forum, Mr. Fidelis Tarkende who spoke on behalf of the beneficiaries appreciated IFAD-VCDP for making the farm inputs distribution an annual event, assuring that they would make judicious use of the inputs for their overall good.