By Peter Okolie
Onitsha (Anambra) – Mr Emmanuel Aguncha, the Coordinator, International Fund for Agriculture (IFAD)-Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP), says the fund will inject N2 billion into the Anambra economy in 2018.
Aguncha made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Onitsha on Saturday.
The coordinator said the fund will cover cost for land development, construction and rehabilitation of rural feeder roads, as well as provision of improved rice and cassava processing machines.
He commended the state government for supporting the programme, saying Gov. Willie Obiano’s administration had so far paid N180 million as counterpart fund for the programme between 2016 and 2017.
“Due to the awareness IFAD-VCDP created, the governor released N100 million for the procurement of the certified rice seeds and improved cassava cottons for distribution to farmers.
“The governor has promised to further increase counterpart fund in the 2018 farming season,” he said.
He said the programme had developed the value chain of rice and cassava farmers and assisted them with links to off-takers in five Local Government Areas of the state.
“Many farmers, who started with one hectare before the VCDP intervention are today planting between four and 10 hectares of rice and cassava.
“Before the intervention, farmers were making as low as one metric ton of rice and eight metric tons of cassava but the rice farmers today make up to seven metric tons, while the yield for cassava has also increased,” Aguncha added.
The coordinator said the programme will later in November organise a mid-term review to check the level of progress toward achieving the set programme development objectives.
Aguncha said the review will take place across the six participating states of Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Niger, Ogun and Taraba with a view to seeing areas for adjustments, redesigning or way forward.
“The mid-term review is aimed at assessing the performance of the programme and to proffer solutions where there are constraints,” the coordinator stressed. (NAN)