In an interview with EGWUAGHA AMARACHUKWU, the state coordinator of International Fund for Agricultural Development IFAD, Mr Sunday Michal Ituma, explained how the donor organization recently empowered about 7443 indigent persons in Ebonyi state, among other schemes
International Fund for Agricultural Development -Assisted Value Chain Development Programme IFAD- VCDP has demonstrated that improvement of a state or country economy does not really solely on government. The program since its full implementation in Ebonyi state has add to the growth of both the economy and served as source of empowerment to the people especially to farmers.
Just like Uwin program of the federal government, sure-P, FADAMA, NPower enrich people in different sectors of life, IFAD-VCDP concentrates on farmers who measure mainly on crops like cassava, rice and maze.
The value chain Development programme Blueprint gathered is a donor assistance projects which is been supported by international fund for agricultural project and is fund by IFAD in collaboration with Federal government, state government and the beneficiaries.
Also the program started in 2004 but on a skeletal implementation. It however took full implementation in 2015 and has injected about six billion naira into the purse of Ebonyi state government.
On the assisted project
“IFAD -Value Chan Development Program is supported mostly by IFAD which they bring greater part of the funding in collaboration with Federal Government of Nigeria and participative of the state government who are also co fiancé of the project and we also work with our beneficiaries who also have their beneficiaries contribution depending in the components of the programs their are undertaken.
The value chain Development programme is a donor assistance projects which is being supported by international fund for agricultural project and is funded by IFAD in collaboration with federal government, state government and the beneficiaries.
Also the program started in 2004 but on a skeletal implementation. It however took full implementation in 2015 and has injected about six billion naira into the purse of Ebonyi state government
“The program started in 2004, when it began disbursement effective, there were skeletal implementation the same year to 2015, but we went into full implementation activities in 2015.
In 2017, IFAD boosted the state economy and empowered about 7443 farmer through its matching grants.
The program realized the economic improvement he boosted off said that rice produced by farmers under the programme has added over 25 thousand metric tons of rice padding to the rice economy of Ebonyi state. That the average price of rice alone has also added about five billion naira in the hands of the farmers.
On Impact of the Programme
“Effectively, the programme you can say has reached mid- term, that is we have done three years in Ebonyi state because the programme’s life span is six years. It is a $104 million programme to be funded by IFAD that will provide about 74 US dollars. The participating six states will provide the balance of the funding together with the beneficiaries. These participating states were chosen based on their comparative advantage. We are lucky that Ebonyi is one of the participating states on the value chain crops which is rice and cassava.
When we say that, we mean the programs of all gamut of activities through production, processing and marketing of value chain crops.
On how to access the fund/ grant
Supporting the value chain crops activities, the farmers are expected to form cooperatives of either production, processing or marketing of the value chain crops.
“We support these activities through our participating cooperative societies that are formed by the beneficiaries. It could either be production or processing of rice or cassava.
“You can have processing group of cooperative societies that are processing rice or cassava, or another set of people that are selling or doing other activities of marketing rice and cassava. Under the production activities, there are certain criteria that the people must meet to participate. Number one is that there must be cooperative society, all member of the cooperative society must have a minimum of one hectare.
We support them with matching grants that is not refundable. We support them with 50% of the cost of land preparation, fertilizers and agro chemical, fertiliser and agro chemicals.
“We have done that for three years and we are happy with the report we are getting. In 2015 we supported about 6454 farmers with marching grants in the state and we are happy to report that from the crop area yield survey conducted by our consultant the average yield by each farmer came out about 4metric tonnes per hecter. If you add up we must have contributed about 25 metric tonnes of rice paddy into the rice economy of the state. By using the average selling price of rice paddy that again would have been over 5billion to the hands of the farmers.
Technical know- how
“For 2017, we also supported our groups, 7443 farmers were also supported with matching grants. Again, the cooperative area yield survey conducted is showing that these farmers moving upwards of four metric tons. We are also delighted that this might have injected over six billion naira into the economy of Ebonyi state”.
Not only is the program providing grants and equipment to these farmers it also provides technical know- how.”
We are also doing a lot under the production aspect. We do technical activities, we do capacity building, mentorship, exposure and we also follow them down to the field level to make sure they carry out farm activities.
Under the marketing infrastructure we construct access roads for farmers, we have done about 23.5 km asphalt road in Ndioruku in Izzi, Igboagu, Rice mill Abakaliki, we are construction some roads at Ikwo,Afikpo south, and some other LGAs we are working in.
In the processing aspects we are building processing center, as we are talking now three big processing centers are almost completed with structural works,one at Iboko, one at Ikwo near the rice mill and cassava processing plant at Afikpo south.
The challenges we are having is our people been able to understand that we can do farming as a business especially the youth. if you watch you find out that a lot of our youths are not interested in farming, we have been trying to encourage them that’s why we have introduced some small scale equipment so that they can manage because the challenge most of the cooperatives have is that the young ones no longer want manual method and they can’t afford tractors.