Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has lauded the Federal Government over the empowerment of rice farmers in the State.
This came after about 439 rice farmers in Enugu State were empowered with seedlings, fertilizers and agrochemicals to boost their yield this farming season.
At the event in Aninri Local Government Area of the State, tagged “flag off of IFAD RPSF support for Enugu State Rice Farmers”, Ugwuanyi, represented by the Enugu State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Matthew Idu, said initiative became a reality through the Governor’s efforts.
While hailing the Federal Government, he thanked the Governor for making the empowerment a reality through the payment of the State’s counterpart funds.
He described the Governor as a “farmers’ friendly governor” and reiterated the State government’s readiness to continue to empower the farmers “in a bid to curb food scarcity ravaging the globe.”
DAILY POST reports that the farm inputs were provided by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Federal Government Assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP).
Enugu is among the nine states in Nigeria where IFAD VCDP operates, supporting farmers engaged in the production, processing, and marketing of rice and cassava only, with beneficiaries drawn from Aninri, Enugu East, and Isiuzo.
Also speaking at the event, the National Coordinator, IFAD VCDP, Dr. Fatima Aliyu, who was represented by the Human Resource Adviser of the organization, Mr. Giddado Bello, explained that the inputs were to assist poor rural farmers whose sources of livelihood were affected by COVID-19 pandemic.
“To cushion the effect of COVID-19 on farmers in Nigeria, IFAD gave a grant called rural poor stimulus facilities to Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“The grant is meant to support vulnerable farmers in VCDP states of Enugu, Anambra, Kogi, Nasarawa, Benue, Niger, Ogun, Ebonyi and Taraba with the aim to sustain production, enhance food security and accelerate their recovery from negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Apart from the agro-inputs, VCDP will also provide extension services to targeted farmers who will also receive training on good agronomic practices, relating to the application of fertilizers, agrochemicals as well as farm management and climate-smart agriculture,’’ he stated.
In his remarks, Enugu State Coordinator, IFAD VCDP, Dr. Edward Isiwu explained that they profiled, through a rigorous process, genuine farmers in the three selected local government areas to benefit from the gesture.
According to him, “These farmers have their own lands. The process started in August last year when we visited all these farmers in their camps; captured them, had their photographs, and validated them on their farms.
“We took a GPS to find out who has one hectare, who has 0.5, who has 0.1 hectares. And so based on that analysis was done and these inputs are here.
“Each farmer will get 2 bags of fertilizer, a bag of Urea, a bag of 50kg certified Faro 44 rice seedlings and agrochemicals: one selective and one nonselective agrochemical to apply in their farms.”
Meanwhile, a representative of the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Peter Kush has cautioned the beneficiaries against the sale of the agro-inputs, saying that they would be monitored and visited in the next three months for progress reports.
In their separate remarks, the traditional ruler of Ezinesie Oduma, Igwe Daniel Njoku, the traditional ruler of Amechi Idodo, Igwe Patrick Ezenweze, and the traditional ruler of Nara, Igwe Abel Nwobodo commended the Government and IFAD VCDP for empowering the farmers.