The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)-assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP), is sensitising benefiting Ebonyi farmers to ways of preventing the deadly COVID-19.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the IFAD-VCDP which works in collaboration with the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) is organising the sensitisation in eight participating LGAs of Ebonyi.
Mr Sunday Ituma, State Programme Coordinator (SPC), of IFAD-VCDP, said this on Saturday at Ezzamgbo, headquarters of Ohaukwu LGA, while sensitising the farmers, stating that the programme would also provide items to help them fight the disease.
Ituma said that national office of the programme directed that its farmers be sensitised to know ways of preventing the pandemic to complement the state’s government efforts in containing it.
“COVID-19 has been ravaging the world and has brought untold hardship, death and uncertainties to people and various economies.
“The Ebonyi government fought gallantly to ensure that the disease did not enter the state but unfortunately it ‘is here with us’.
“The programme decided in particular to make farmers be aware of the devastating effects of the pandemic and what to do to in case someone is suspected to be infected.”
“It will be disastrous for farmers to be afflicted by the disease to the extent that food is not produced for people to eat in the state and country,” he said.
The SPC noted that leaders of farmer’s clusters were selected for the sensitisation to observe the COVID-19 protocols on overcrowding and social distancing.
“The health experts would guide you and when you return to your various communities, amplify the message to the leaders of your cooperative societies who will in turn pass the information to their members.”
“The ultimate aim is to stop the community transmission of the disease, to cushion its effects especially on our means of livelihood,” he said.
He regretted that many people especially in the rural areas did not believe that the disease existed, only waiting for some close to them to die before believing.
“It will not take us anything to believe that it exists than to wait to be infected as we should pass the message from our immediate families and beyond,” he said.
Mrs Fransisca Anya, the Rural Institution Gender Youths Mainstreaming Officer (RIGYMO), of the progarmme in Ebonyi said that health experts were contacted to deliver relevant lectures because it was their area of specialty.
“We urge you to pass this message from your family to the farmers groups, clusters, LGA among others to justify your positions as the cluster leaders.”
“You should therefore champion the cause of the sensitisation to make farmers be aware of the disease because you are important to our national office,” she said.
Mrs Joy Ozoemena, an official of the State Ministry of Health and and the senitisation’s Guest Speaker, among other things urged the farmers to observe all laid down protocols to effectively fight the disease.
“You will be taught on the proper ways of washing your hands with running water, application of sanitisers, wearing of face masks, observing social distancing, avoiding crowded places among others,” she said.
Mr Joe Onah, a participant at the sensitisation, thanked IFAD-VCDP for organising such and especially providing free face masks among other logistics to the farmers.