The Federal Government (FG) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), have lauded Enugu State for its excellent performance on the FG/IFAD-Value Chain Development Programme (FG/IFAD-VCDP). IFAD, which is an international financial institution and a specialised agency of the United Nations that works to address poverty and hunger in rural areas of developing countries. Enugu State is among the nine states in Nigeria currently benefitting from the programme. Five of the 17 council areas of the state are currently among the beneficiaries of the programme on value chain of rice and cassava for sustainable agricultural transformation.
They are Aninri, Enugu East, Nkanu East, Isi Uzo and Udenu Local Government Areas (LGAs). Speaking after inspecting LGAs where IFAD-VCDP is intervening in Enugu, Prof. Jonas lemchi, IFAD Consultant and Team Leader to the assignment, said Enugu State is doing an impressive job. He informed that the programme is really impacting on the people of the state, stressing that in the different centres visited across the six LGAs, farmers felt so happy about the project. “This is a Mid-Term Review of value chain programme on Additional Finance of which Enugu State is one of the participating states. “From what we saw in the field, IFAD-VCDP is doing well and it is quite impressive. They are doing well in the field and they are also yearning for for expansion. I am rating the state 95 per cent on performance”, the team leader said.
He added that the programme was well targeted to reach the unreached and lifting the people, especially the youths and women, out of poverty, which is the focus of the programme. “Mid-term review is a period to look at the programme on what participating states have done and see if they have done it well, the expectation and way forward. “We have met with over 200 farmers in the state and noted their challenges”, he said. Speaking also, the representative of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Abdulsalam Jamilu, said that Enugu state had superseded other states in the programme. Looking at the achievement they recorded so far, it has superseded what former VCDP states achieved within shortest possible time. “Our purpose of coming here is to know what is working and what is not working with the aim to come up with a better solution. The project activities in Enugu is satisfactory”, he said.
Meanwhile, farmers in the state have listed water, threshing and planting machines for rice, vehicle to transport their produce from farm to warehouse and market as major challenges facing them in achieving IFAD-VCDP targets. Some of who spoke at the event said they recorded success stories, but promised to do more if IFAD tackles the problem facing them. A farmer and the President-General of Oduma community, Pius Ani, said before IFAD-VCDP came, they were recording two tons of rice, but now 4.5 tons, as he pleaded with IFAD to provide them with access road to their farmlands and water to enable them engage in all-season farming.
Source: The Sun