Minna – The National FADAMA Office has called on the Niger Government to pay the balance of its counterpart fund for the ongoing FADAMA III project to ensure its success in the state.
Dr Ben Herbert, the Agro-Business Specialist with the national FADAMA office, made the call when he led a delegation on a courtesy visit to the State Ministry of Agriculture in Minna on Friday.
Herbert, who did not state the financial implication of the project in the state and the balance owed, stressed the need for the state government to pay up.
“Even though in the past, the government has fulfilled its obligations concerning this project.
“For this one, we have been briefed about the challenges it was having so we are praying for government to fulfill it obligations,’’ he said.
According to him, the delegation is on a pre-mission visit to assess what the state FADAMA III has achieved since Sept. 2013.
He said the visit was also to prepare the state FADAMA office for the visit of the World Bank Mission, which would commence Nov. 23 across the country.
Herbert explained that during the visit, the World Bank Mission would discuss various credit facilities available for the project and how to access them.
He commended the ministry and the Agricultural Development Programme for making previous FADAMA projects in the state a huge success.
Responding, Alhaji Mohammed Danlamin, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, disclosed that the shortfall in cash flow from the federation account was responsible for the non payment of the balance.
Danlamin expressed optimism that the balance of the counterpart fund would be paid soon as government had placed agriculture on its priority list.
“Very soon, the money will come and we shall fulfill our promise,’’ he said.
Earlier, Alhaji Aliyu Kutigi, the State Project Coordinator, said that the FADAMA III additional financing project was targeting 5, 000 rice farmers in the state.
Kutigi said that the farmers would receive grants for the development of rice value chain.
He said that the intervention areas of the FADAMA III include development of rice value chain, rehabilitation irrigation scheme, construction of feeder roads, drilling of tube wells and boreholes for supplementary irrigation.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Federal Government had secured a loan of 200 million dollars from the World Bank for the development of FADAMA III projects in six states comprising of Niger, Kogi, Kano, Enugu, Anambra and Lagos.
NAN also reports that the state governments were expected to pay counterpart funds for the execution of the projects with N50 million annually, depending on the amount of money they are able to access. (NAN)