The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) says it budgeted N56 million for the Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) for this year’s farming season in Anambra.
The Programme Coordinator, Mr Nnamdi Agwuncha, made this known on Friday at the commencement of Value Chain Input Distribution Programme in Orumba South and Awka North Local Government Areas of the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that inputs distributed include certified rice seeds, cassava stems, NPK and Urea fertilisers and agro-chemicals, such as herbicide and pesticide.
Agwuncha said the programme was designed to ensure that farmers got and used quality and improved agro-input to increase their production and yield.
“The monetary value for this year’s input distribution is estimated at about N56 million and our target is to make multiple of that amount at the end of the farming season.
“Our farmers performed well in the previous season but we hope they improve on their performance this season.
“On rice, we expect a minimum of five to seven metric tonnes per hectare on the average.
“Also on cassava, we are expecting between 25 and 30 metric tonnes per hectare on the average,’’ Agwuncha said.
He said that IFAD-VCDP and the state government had constituted Farmers-Herders Conflict Resolution Committee to check clashes arising from invasion of farmlands.
He urged the farmers to take up agricultural insurance policy to get cover against unforeseen disasters and attacks that might lead to losses.
“We are in partnership with the Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation to make the policy affordable to farmers.
“The Federal Government is paying 50 per cent, the state government, 25 per cent, while the farmers are to pay the remaining 25 per cent.
“So, it’s very affordable and plans are underway to sensitise farmers about the benefits,’’ Agwuncha said.
The Agricultural Production Adviser, IFAD, Dr Victor Onanma, urged the farmers to judiciously utilise the inputs to boost their production and harvest.
Onanma, who spoke on behalf of the National Programme Coordinator IFAD-VCDP, Mr Garba Bala, said that IFAD worked with nationally recognised agro dealers, who produce quality fertilisers and agro chemicals.
“There is threat of food insecurity, which will lead to hunger in the country and this is as a result of incessant farmers-herders clashes.
“Also, the demand for rice and cassava is high now.
“I urge you to make good use of these inputs, and not sell them, to improve productivity, family income, standard of living and food security,’’ Onanma said.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Nnamdi Onukwuba, expressed satisfaction with IFAD-VCDP’s intervention for rice and cassava farmers in Anambra.
“Agriculture is key to this administration. That is why we will continue to support IFAD-VCDP to drive its activities for the benefit of farmers and agricultural stakeholders,’’ Onukwuba said.
Dr Emmanuel Nwagwu, who spoke on behalf of the Farmers’ Association, thanked IFAD, the federal and state governments for supporting them.
According to him, the impact of IFAD support on capacity building on the best agronomic practices, improved seedlings and inputs have resulted in improved productivity in rice and cassava farming.