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FG, IFAD hail implementation of VCDP in Niger

The Federal Government and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on Friday commended the implementation of the Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) in Niger.
Dr. Maimuna Habib, Director, Projects Coordinating Unit, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, who made the remark in Wushishi, described the programme as a huge success.
She stated this during an identification mission of the federal and state governments and IFAD to the VCDP participating farmer groups in Wushishi and Bida areas of the state.
“I am satisfied with the implementation of the VCDP in the past five years from what I have seen on the ground here.
“There is no doubt that the VCDP is doing well here, so today we want to get feedback from our farmers,” she said.
Habib announced that the federal government through the ministry was ready to assist the farmers with farm implements.
“I have directed the State Programme Coordinator to articulate what the farmers want and we will do something to get them implements at a subsidized rate,” she said.
She called for the inclusion of more women in the programme to enable their own businesses and assist their families.
Similarly, Dr. Jonathan Agwe, IFAD Lead Regional Technical Specialist for Rural Finance, Market and Enterprises,  said that the programme has succeeded in the state.
He said that arrangements had been concluded to expand and extend the programme beyond the year 2020 when it was supposed to terminate to the next three years.
The next phase of the extension of three years programme is expected to begin in 2023.
“We want more women on board, this is why we will work with the government and beneficiaries to ensure that more women participate,” he said.
Agwe said that the various farmer organizations would be updated on how to sustain the programme when it wound up.
He said that the VCDP has contributed positively to the rural economy of the country.
Earlier, Dr. Matthew Ahmed, the Programme Coordinator in the state said that good performance earned the state the inclusion of three more local government areas on the programme.
Ahmed said that the programme was able to access more funds to extend it for the next three years, adding that three states of Enugu, Nasarawa, and Kogi would be included in the second phase of the Programme starting 2023.
“What we will do in the second phase of the Programme is to look at what has been done well and what we need to improve on,” he said.
He said that the VCDP was working with 16,000 farmers in the state and that out of the figure, 8,000 had been encouraged to go into dry season farming.
Also, Mr Inuwa Reza, member Bankogi Nassara Gwari Rice Farmer Group in Wushishi, said that the Programme exposed them to good agronomic practices.
According to him, before the intervention of the IFAD-VCDP they were harvesting between 1.5 and two metric tons of rice per hectare of land, but now they get between six and eight metric tons.
Reza appealed for more implements such as power tillers and transplanters for increased yield.
Hajiya Habiba Abubakar, Vice Chairman, Sokodeke Cassava Processing Association located at the Cassava Processing Centre in Wushishi, said that the intervention resulted in increased production of garri, fufu and animal feed.
Abubakar said that the association would soon start the production of starch.
She appealed for more link to off-takers (market) to sell their products and loan facility to enable them to procure more machines.
The Federal Government is implementing a six-year programme for rice and cassava VCDP in Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Niger, Ogun, and Taraba states.
While five local government areas of Bida, Wushsishi, Katacha, Kontagora, and Shiroro are participating in the programme in Niger.
The programme prepared in 2010, was approved for an IFAD loan of 74.4 million dollars and grant of 500,000 dollars in April 2012. (NAN)

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