2020: Over 3,000 Ebonyi farmers benefit from IFAD-VCDP matching grants, input distributions

 By Agatha Eze

In 2020 farming season, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) said, it has supported at least 3,000 Ebonyi farmers to benefit from its programme on matching grants with farm inputs distributed to them. 

The State Programme Coordinator of IFAD—VCDP, Mr. Sunday Ituma told our correspondent in an interview that the programme is in collaboration with the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN).  

According to him, "this intervention is through our annual matching grant scheme as we have provided agro chemicals, fertilizers, improved seeds for rice and cuttings for cassava; to the farmers for the 2020 farming season.

“The farmers accessed these inputs through their various cooperative societies and the intervention will hopefully, impact positively on the production output of rice and cassava in the state."

He noted that the programme with this intervention was targeted to inject N2billion into the state's economy in 2020 farming season.

“The projection is based on expected yield and what the prices of food items are going to be at the end of this farming season.

“We are confident that the intervention will improve the farmers’ means of livelihood, increase their income generation and ensure food sufficiency for their families", he hinted.

The State Programme Coordinator, SPC, also said, each of the farmers was supported on the basis of a one-hectare  rice farm, provided with 50kg of improved rice seeds, four bags on NPK and two bags of Urea brands of fertilizers, two litres of selective and non-selective agro-chemicals, adding that his  national office equally introduced new innovations to aid the implementation process in 2020 by engaging a reputable supply chain manager--the International Fertilizer Development Centre, an American based company.

“The farmers who cultivate cassava were supported with: 50 bundles of improved cassava cuttings, four bags of NPK brand of fertilizers and two litres each of selective and non-selective agro-chemicals.

“This company has an African office in Ghana as our national office also introduced lots of technological innovations to improve the distribution process and make it 100 per cent transparent.

“Each benefiting farmer captured in the programme’s data base has been provided with an automated teller (card) for input redemption while the agro-dealers have also been provided with such cards.

“The farmers visit the various redemption centres with their cards and when such is slotted into the machine, their particulars are displayed to confirm their identities and that all redemption requirements have been met.

“The information will then be transmitted to the agro- dealer to release the input to the farmer and these are done through the collaboration of the supply chain managers."

Ituma thus, extolled the government of Governor David Umahi for its unflinching support to the programme and pledged a continuous contributions to ensure its best enhancement on food production in Ebonyi State

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