By Asmau Ahmad
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP), has approved a $3.5 million grant for the Federal Government to mitigate the effects of climate change in Niger and Kogi States.
Dr Fatima Aliyu, National Programme Coordinator, FG/IFAD-VCDP, Abuja stated this on Wednesday in Minna, at the inauguration of the 2023 wet season inputs distribution to VCDP farmers in the state.
There was also the distribution of motorcycles to extension agents by Governor Mohammed Umaru Bago during the inauguration.
“I am pleased to inform you that IFAD-VCDP has approved the Adaptation for Smallholders Agricultural Programme (ASAP) of $3.5 million grant to the Nigerian government.
“This is to assist farmers in Niger and Kogi to enhance their resilience to climate shocks,” she said.
Dr Aliyu said that IFAD-VCDP would not give cash to farmers or groups, but would build capacities of farmers and infrastructures to mitigate the effects of flooding.
“We are not giving free money to people, we are going to build capacities of farmers and infrastructures to mitigate the effects of flooding,” she said.
She explained that the programme which would soon be implemented in Niger and Kogi, would be done under the IFAD-VCDP Additional Financing (AF).
The coordinator said that VCDP would support 355 rice and cassava farmers with inputs and implements this year.
She said the support would be extended to 10 extension agents with motorcycles, 10 youths with Point Of Sale (POS) machines and 10 farmers with solar sprayers.
The inputs included improved rice seedlings, herbicides, cassava stems, NPK and Urea fertilisers, while the implements are water pumping machines, intra-planters and power tillers.
She said that the project spent over N80 million to procure the inputs and implements.
Dr Aliyu said that the farmers would be contributing 50 per cent of the cost of the inputs and implements through matching grant arrangement, while the project would pay the balance of 50 per cent.
She urged the beneficiaries to utilise the inputs and implements, to enhance their productivity which would increase their incomes and improve their living standards.
The coordinator said that the VCDP was supporting over 32,000 farmers in the state in the areas of rice and cassava value chains, which includes production, processing and marketing.
“The capacity of these farmers has been built by the project in the state which has led to increase in yield, value addition to agricultural commodities among others,” she said.
She appealed for support in the payment of the state counterpart fund, saying that part of it was used to pay staff salaries and other allowances.
Inaugurating the exercise, Governor Bago assured that the government would pay its counterpart fund soon to enable farmers in the state to benefit more from the programme.
Also speaking, the State Programme Coordinator, Dr Mathew Ahmed, said that each farmer would get four bags of NPK fertilisers, two bags of urea fertilisers and two litres of herbicides; one selective and one non-elective.
Dr Ahmed said that rice farmers would get 25kg of rice seeds each, while the cassava farmers get 50 bundles of cassava stems each.