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Enugu farmers to benefit from World Bank fund – IFAD officer

Farmers in Enugu State are to benefit from the World Bank International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in this year’s cassava and rice value chains…

Farmers in Enugu State are to benefit from the World Bank International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in this year’s cassava and rice value chains programme.

The IFAD Country Programme Officer, Benjamin Odoemena, made this known when the IFAD team visited five local government areas in the state to interact with farmers and collect data from organised co-operative societies in preparation for agricultural grant to farmers.

Although Odoemena did not specify how much fund was approved for the farmers in the state he, however, stated that the target groups included 15,000 small holder farming households, 1,680 processors and 500 traders.

He explained that about 35 per cent of the matching grants provided by the programme were to be mapped out for women, to enable them upgrade their production and processing technologies and capacities.

According to him, the programme has been operational in six states in Nigeria – Anambra, Ogun, Niger, Benue, Taraba and Ebonyi – adding that the 2019 programme would be extended to three more states including Enugu State.

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, who added that the programme is “a World Bank support programme and farmers are assisted 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.

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.

The co-ordinator, IFAD Value Chain Development Programme, Mr. Emmanuel Aguncha, said the fund approved N2 billion for the Anambra State farmers alone in the 2018 planting season.

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