International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP), says it will support 369 farmers in Niger with inputs worth N78.4 million in the ongoing 2022 wet season farming.
Dr Fatima Aliyu, National Programme Coordinator (NPC) Federal Government/IFAD-VCDP, disclosed this on Wednesday in Borgu, Niger, during the inauguration of the 2022 wet season input distribution to the benefiting farmers.
Aliyu, represented by Dr Chika Unamma, Agriculture Production Advisor, VCDP, Abuja, said that the exercise was implemented under the VCDP-Additional Financing (AF).
“We are spending N78.4 million for the 2022 wet season farming in Niger state but the emphasis is on the three local government areas of Borgu, Edati and Mokwa benefiting in the VCDP-AF.
“A total of 369 farmers from Niger state will benefit in the rice and cassava VCDP,” she said.
She said that for this year’s wet season farming, the VCDP would support the farmers with 369 hectares of land, adding that out of the figure, rice would be cultivated on 302 hectares, while cassava takes 67 hectares.
She said that in Borgu Local Government Area, 108 farmers would benefit in the programme which would gulp N16.5 million.
She urged the farmers to utilise the inputs to increase yields to boost food production, increase their wealth and improve their living standard.
Inaugurating the programme, Gov. Abubakar Bello of Niger, directed the state Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to ensure that the benefitting farmers get the inputs.
Bello represented by Alhaji Yusuf Gunnu, the State Commissioner for Agriculture, eulogised the state government for counter-funding agriculture intervention programmes, including the VCDP in the state, hence, the huge successes recorded.
Similarly, Dr Mathew Ahmed, the State Programme Coordinator (SPC), said that among the three local governments, 108 farmers would benefit from Borgu, 113 from Edati and 148 from Mokwa.
Ahmed explained that each farmer would get four bags of NPK fertiliser, two bags of Urea fertilisers, one certified 25kg bag of rice seeds and one litre of herbicide.
He said each cassava farmer would be given 50 bundles of cassava cuttings with same number of NPKand Urea fertiliser and herbicide.
He said that the support was based on 50 per cent matching grant that would be paid by the beneficiaries, while the VCDP pays the balance of 50 per cent.
He said that before the farmers would access the inputs; they would pay 50 per cent of the worth and document same at the redemption centre.
He said that the programme was designed to achieve increase in yield, whereby the rice farmer’s yield would increase to 7.5 metric tons per hectare and the cassava farmer increase yields to 30 metric tons per hectare.
Ahmed said that the VCDP had set up a monitoring team to ensure that the farmers utilise the inputs judiciously.
Also, Alhaji Mohammed Dantoro, Emir of Borgu, who appreciated the Federal Government, the state and IFAD for the gesture, promising that the Emirate would ensure the farmers use the inputs for the purpose they were meant for.
Responding, Mrs Deborah Peter, one of the benefiting farmers who thanked the government and IFAD for the assistance, promised to utilise the inputs to benefit again.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the IFAD-VCDP is a collaboration among Federal Government, IFAD and nine participating states of Anambra, Benue, Enugu, Ebonyi, Kogi, Niger, Nasarawa, Taraba and Ogun.
Rice and cassava farmers were included to benefit from VCDP-Additional Financing after the programme recorded huge success in all the participating states.
There are currently 33,200 VCDP farmers in Niger spread across the eight benefiting local government areas of Bida, Katcha, Kontagora, Shiroro, Edati, Borgu, Wushishi and Mokwa.