By Joy Akinsanya
Abeokuta – Beneficiaries of Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) for rice and cassava in Ogun, say the programme has greatly improved the livelihoods of rural farmers and boost food production.
Some of the beneficiaries made this known during a monitoring at Baara community in Obafemi/Owode Local Government on Thursday, where a modern garri processing factory facilitated under the programme was built.
The group also lauded the Federal Government initiative on the International Fund for Agricultural development assisted value chain development programme (FGN/IFAD/VCDP).
Mr Owolabi Olusegun, the Chairman, Cassava Clusters in the state said the VCDP had liberated the rural farmers from the misfortune of poor yields, poor income and reduced poverty among the rural farmers.
Owolabi, said the programme had empowered rural farmers, exposed them to modern ways of farming boosting their capacities for productivity.
“Such that a hectare of cassava that usually give the farmers eight metric tonnes now produce as much as 30 tonnes.
“What this translate to is more money in our pockets, we are now more organise to market our garri. I can tell you that many people who own new buildings in this community are VCDP members.
“We are grateful to the government and IFAD for this programme and we are assuring them that we will also at our end do all that are expected of us to ensure more success story,’’ he said.
He however called on the government to assist the garri producers to register their garri with NAFDAC, saying that it would help to standardised the product and boost sales and acceptability.
Mrs Saidat Shodiya, another beneficiary said the FG/IFAD programme had improved the livelihoods of women involved in cassava processing.
She said the programme had helped in reducing the tedious traditional way of producing Garri, saying that with support of IFAD introducing modern way processing garri, it had made it easy and attractive with more income.
“The impact of this programme on us and our family is huge. We now make money from our cassava processing business, we don’t have problem paying our children’s school fees anymore.
“The job is now very easy with the modern garri processing factory built for us by IFAD/VCDP, more women are now gainfully employed.
“This agric programme has really been a blessing to us and we will remain eternally grateful to IFAD as well as the states and federal government for this well thought out plan,’’ Shodiya said.
The beneficiaries however listed farmers/herders clash, bad roads, access to land among others as some of the challenges hampering their optimal performance, urging the government to find a lasting solution to them.
Mr Samuel Adeogun, State Programme Coordinator, (SPC), who led the monitoring team said the testimonies of the beneficiaries had just confirmed the success of the programme.
Adeogun, said the programme was to principally increase the capacity of household rural farmers with a view to assisting them to be more productive in cassava and rice value chain.
He said it would at the end, ultimately improve their income while also boosting food security.
“VCDP started about five years ago and over 10,000 farmers across five local governments in the state have benefited with three more local governments being added under the expansion programme of the project,’’ SPC said.
Adeogun however said the essence of the monitoring exercise was to interface with the beneficiaries of the agricultural programme.
He added that it was to get updates on their challenges and most importantly ensure they are not losing sight of the essence of the over N2 billion agricultural intervention programme.