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Food Security: IFAD Commits Over $1billion In Nigeria’s Agric Sector

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The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) says it has invested over 1 billion US Dollars in Nigeria’s Agricultural sector.

The Associate Vice President, Programme Management Department at IFAD, Donal Brown, made this known when he and his team visited FGN/IFAD Assisted Value Chain Development Programme, VCDP Dry Season Rice farmers in Enugu State.

IFAD is providing viable interventions to support farmers and facilitate sustainable agricultural development in the country.

Brown who was in Enugu to assess some of the projects they fund through the Federal Government of Nigeria, visited, Nenwe, Aninri Local Government Area and other projects sites in the State.

He expressed satisfaction with the impact of the interventions on the lives of rural farmers in the State.

Brown commended the resilience of the farmers, while pledging to continue to support the government to improve food production and security.

In a remark, the National Programme Coordinator, FGN/IFAD Value Chain Development Programme, Dr. Fatima Aliyu, commended Enugu State Government and the farmers for their commitments toward the success of the programme, noting that they decided to go for the Dry season rice farming because it was more profitable.

Earlier, the Enugu State Governor, Dr Peter Mbah, who was represented by his deputy, Mr. Ifeanyi Ossai, appealed to IFAD to expand its support beyond smallholder farmers to commercial farmers with inputs, credit facilities and capacity building.

He said the visit was timely especially now the country was struggling with food shortages.

He commended IFAD for the support it had been giving to the State, adding that the state valued the support and intervention received from the multilateral institutions and agencies in their sectors, particularly in agriculture.

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“This is so important because if we want to migrate our people from poverty to economic stability, agriculture is very pivotal.

“As we are battling with high cost of food and shortage of food, this is the best time to improve agriculture.

“We thank you also because your programme tailored its approach towards farmers and smallholder farmers,” he said.

The governor, who extoled the roles of the smallholder farmers in the economy, said there was need for high level policies formulations to deal with it to accommodate the whole farmers.

“It is the aggregation of the smallholder farmers that come up to your Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and farmers now enjoy the benefit of their hardwork with access to facilities supported by IFAD.

“We look forward to more robust relationship with you to improve what you have done and sustain it. We suffer  from huge post harvest losses, hence, there is need for aggregation centres near our farm,” he appealed.

The Enugu State Commissioner for Agriculture and Agro-Industrialisation, Mr Patrick Nwabueze Ubru, who led IFAD Associate Vice President and his team to the sites, reiterated the commitment of Governor Peter Mbah to meeting the obligations of the state in terms of payment of counterpart funding.

Leaders of the women Rice farmers’ groups, Evelyn Nwaru of Chiamaka farm and Cecilia Michael of Chinazaekpere farm had told Dr Brown how VCDP had helped them increased their yields.

Evelyn Nwalor said, “What we get here is much. One group was doing it  but when we saw it’s beneficial we joined . We eat from the produce, sell and store some.

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We train our children from the sales we made. We have been doing it for two years.  We get more yield in the Dry season rice farming than we got in the raining season rice.. In dry season farming, we control water, we control fertilizer. VCDP taught us how to plant, using bond so that water can be retained.”

On the challenges they faced, Nwaru said they had problem using fuel pumping machines because of high cost of fuel. When they complained, VCDP provided them with solar pumping machines. She commended Enugu State Government , IFAD, VCDP for the programme.

On her part, Cecilia Michael of Chinazaekpere farm said through the training they got from VCDP and it’s Gender Action Learning System ( GALS), they were empowered and were able to train women and improved in their farm production.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized agency of the United Nations dedicated to eradicating poverty and hunger in rural areas of developing countries.

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