The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) have been lauded for their roles in the provision of credible extension delivery to all agricultural value chains in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Secretary, Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat of FCT Administration, Hon Stanley Ifeanyichukwu gave the commendation while reviewing some of the activities by the department in the past year to reposition the Agricultural Development Project and Field Extension Programmes (ADP).
Ifeanyichukwu said projects routinely promoted by the agencies promoted the dissemination and adoption of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and ensured that smallholder farmers increased their yield and income through improved production.
He said 175,000 farming families and 100 project staff members were supported through the various interventions initiated by the agencies.
For instance, he said JICA facilitated international capacity building for four projects staff in Japan, supported 40 women groups and 30 extension agents on Rice paddy parboiling, using false bottom technology and mobilised farmer groups in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) Kwali and Gwagwalada area councils on Small Horticultural Empowerment Programme (SHEP).
Ifeanyichukwu said the interventions among others led to outcomes, including 25 per cent reduction in post-harvest loss on agricultural produce through International Fertiliser Development Centre (IFDC) empowerment of community-based agric dealers across six councils.
“It also led to increase in rice yield per hectare from 2.0 metric tonnes per annum in 2016 to 3.0 metric tonnes per annum in 2017, while maize yield declined marginally from 2.5 tonnes per annum to 2.2 tonnes per annum due to impact of army worm attack which devastated farms,” he said.
He also added that there was a 30 per cent increase in youth and women participation in the entire cycle of agricultural value chains, in addition to about 30 per cent of vegetable farmers in Ibwa community, who have changed their attitude of farming from subsistence to farming as business.
He also said with the support of FAO, about 450 women farmers in Agyana community were trained by ADP on post-harvest management on cassava.
In addition, Agric extension workers also aided rural workers on proper methods of applying pesticides on plants and stored farm produce as well as using chemicals to destroy the pests.