Agriculture in Enugu state is on the verge of receiving funding from the world’s biggest financial body as farmers in the state are pushing hard to benefit from the World Bank International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in this year’s cassava and rice value chains programme.
Benjamin Odoemena, who is the IFAD Country Programme Officer, Benjam, reveled during an interview when a deligation of the firm visited five local government areas in the state to communicate with farmers and collect data from organised co-operative societies in preparation for agricultural grant to farmers.
Odoemena also confirmed that the target groups included 15,000 small holder farming households, 1,680 processors and 500 traders.
He further stressed that about 35 per cent of the grants made available in the programme were to be categorically set aside for women, so as to upscale their level production and processing technologies and capacities.
The programme which has been operational in six states in Nigeria (Anambra, Ogun, Niger, Benue, Taraba and Ebonyi) would be extended to three more states inclusive of Enugu State in the 2019 programme.
The five council areas the IFAD team visited are Udenu and Enugu East for cassava value chain and Nkanu East, Aninri and Isi-Uzo which were selected for rice value chain production.
Odoemena said the value chain development programme takes a holistic and demand-driven approach to addressing constraints along the cassava and rice value chains.
“IFAD is an international financial institution and an agency of the United Nations dedicated to eradicating poverty and hunger in rural areas of developing countries,” according to Odoemena.
He also added that the programme is a World Bank support programme through which hardworking farmers get support and encouragement in the form of grants.
Earlier, the six commissioners for Agriculture from the six participating states had lauded IFAD’s contributions to agricultural development in their respective states, and advised it to expand operational scope of the Value Chain Development Project (VCDP) to local government areas.
Remarkably, the meeting was attended by four state commissioners of agriculture – Moses Nome, Ebonyi; Afam Mbanefo, Anambra; James Aubua, Benue; Alhaji Kabiru, Niger; and the IFAD-VCDP national programme co-ordinator, Dr. Ameh Onoja.
Onoja had earlier noted that the objective of the meeting was to provide a synthesis report on the status of VCDP’s specific and overall implementation performance.