Ben Ezechime, Enugu
The Federal Government and the International Fund for Agricultural Development-Value Chain Development Programme (IFAD-VCDP), on Tuesday, distributed over N40 million worth of agro-input and equipment to rural farmers in Enugu.
The distribution marked the flag off of 2023/2024 dry season farming in Enugu through IFAD-VCDP programme.
The items distributed include NPK fertilizers, Urea, rice seeds, selective and non-selective chemicals, solar panel, water pumps, knapsack sprayers, transplanters and weighing scales, among others.
Speaking during the distribution held in Enugu, the IFAD-VCDP National Coordinator, Dr Fatima Aliyu, commended Enugu State Government for engaging in the Programme.
She explained that five states of Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Niger, Ogun and Taraba, were participating in the programme before Enugu, Kogi and Nasarawa states were included in it.
Aliyu while applauding the VCDP implementors in Enugu, expressed gratitude with what had been done in the state and urged them to maintain the heights.
Aliyu, represented by the National Agricultural Production Advisor (APA), Mallam Nura Daura, urged the beneficiaries to make good use of the inputs and equipment.
“The supports which came in two forms; the conventional dry season farming and the additional dry season farming are to support farmers especially those that had the devastating experience of 2023 flood.
“The idea also is to intensify dry season farming,” she said.
Earlier, the State Programme Coordinator, Dr Edward Isiwu, lauded Gov. Peter Mbah for his efforts in sustaining the programme in the State through the payment of the counterpart fund.
“What we are here today is to give to farmers inputs and equipment for them to launch into their dry season rice production.
”These agro inputs are meant for rice production for farmers in Aninri, Isiuzo and Nkanu East out of the five LGAs we are working with,” Isiwu said.
He stated that the state had done it in 2021 and recorded bountiful harvest as well as in 2022 and with Good Agronomic Practices (GAP) deployed.
“Flagging off the 2023/2024 dry season farming today is to enable the farmers to start farm work in three days time with the inputs,” he said.
He informed the beneficiaries that in one or two months time, the National office would be coming to inspect what they had done in their respective farms, thereby, encouraging them to be diligent and hardworking.
“I am assuring you that anything meant for you must surely come to you,” Isiwu said.
Also speaking, Gov. Mbah, represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture and Agro Industrialisation, Mr Patrick Ubru, re-assured of the State Government’s commitment in making Enugu state food basket of the Nation.
He thanked Aliyu for the speedy approval of all requests that came to her table and charged the farmers not to disappoint the national coordinator, the State Governor and State Coordinator for all they had done for them.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Ngozi Eze, expressed gratitude to the programme implementors for keeping to their words.
“I was supported last year for dry season farming which was my first time to plant rice in dry season. After the harvest, the yield was so massive that I got more than 6 tonnes in an hectare.
“With this support again, I know it will be exceptional. So I am using this opportunity to appreciate IFAD through the Coordinator of VCDP in the State for reducing rural poverty and increasing food security through their various supports to the farmers,” she said.