As part of its mandate to support rice and cassava value chain for small holder farmers, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, funder of the Value Chain Development Programme (IFAD-VCDP), has distributed different farming inputs to farmers’ groups in Nasarawa State.
The benefiting farmers, who were drawn from the five participating Local Government Areas namely: Doma, Karu, Lafia, Nasarawa and Wamba, are to rejig their agricultural activities, boost food production and to improve their livelihoods.
Some of the inputs distributed included; 92 irrigation pumps, 40 Solar powered knapsack sprayers, 8 tricycles and power tiller and a set of improved stainless steel rice steam parboilers.
Others are 8 garri processing equipment, including grinding machines, communal fryer, hydraulic pressers, cassava chipping machine.
Speaking at a ceremony for the distribution of the items in Lafia, the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Abubakar Dan’akano, applauded the VCDP for bridging the gaps in the agricultural sector in the State.
The Commissioner who was represented by Solomon Ubundaga, the Director Agriculture Engineering Services in the Ministry, also commended VCDP for improving the livelihoods of small holder farmers in the State.
“As far as agriculture is concern, VCDP is standing on the gap of agriculture production in the State.
“Seeing all the machinery and other farming inputs been offered to farmers, are clear that, VCDP is working in line with the State Government’s agricultural policy,” he said.
The Commissioner who commended farmers for justifying the trust so far, urged them to pay attention to every detail, as no knowledge will be a waste.
He also lauded the efforts of VCDP for empowering farmers in the State.
The Project Coordinator, IFAD-VCDP, Dr. Eunice Adgidzi, explained that, if not for the participation of farmers, VCDP wouldn’t have been on board in the State.
According to Adgidzi, “why VCDP is on board is because of our farmers who are keeping track to our mandate”, hence the focus on farmers to improve the value chains of rice and cassava.
“The State Value Chain Development Programme, has fulfilled her own part of the bargain. We are always doing this since inception in July 1, 2020.
She assured farmers of more support to increase food production in the State.
Emmanuel Alanana, the State Programme Manager, Nasarawa State Agricultural Development Programme (NADP) said that, agriculture and agricultural sector in the State has been the number one pivotal of the achievements and movement of Nasarawa State.
“If farmers will put everything into use, attract all these opportunities they have, I don’t think any of us should be hungry in Nasarawa State.
“The State use to be the leading producer of cassava, but since the glut during Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime, the interest of farming cassava went off the minds of our farmers.
“But today we are trying our best, either N-Cares, VCDP, ADP or Ministry of Agriculture to make sure we go back to cassava production.”
The Project Manager then appealed to the benefiting farmers to utilize the gesture given them to boost food production and increase livelihoods.
“For rice, we have the largest processing plant in the whole West Africa in Nasarawa State, Olam, and just last year they mop up from the State 1.5 tons of rice.
“These are efforts of VCDP, ADP and Ministry of Agriculture and all those that are involved in agricultural production. We have the land, but our laziness is still affecting us, we prefer after the raining season and be gossiping, when we know that we have the potentials for dry season production.”
He called on all farmers to make use of what they have, as according to him, 90% of the all the snacks in Indonesia are from cassava flour.
“Why can’t we attain the feat, we that too cassava to them, we tool oil palm to Malaysia, but Malaysia is producing oil Palm that we are not producing, but the seedlings went there through Nigeria.”
He said, with the passion the governments has for agriculture, the people, especially farmers should take advantage of the passion to better their lives.