The Federal Government and the International Fund for Agricultural Development Programme (IFAD) -Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) will support 616 farmers with N26 million inputs in the 2021 wet season farming in Niger.
Dr Mathew Ahmed, State Coordinator, IFAD-VCDP disclosed this on Friday in Mokwa, during the inauguration of the 2021 wet season farming for rice and cassava VCDP farmers.
Ahmed said that 660 hectares would be utilised for rice production while cassava would be cultivated on 82 hectares during the farming season.
He explained that the programme would increase food production, create wealth and build the capacity of the farmers toward sustainability in agriculture.
The coordinator said that owing to paucity of funds, the IFAD-VCDP would subsidise the inputs by 30 per cent while the farmers would pay the balance of 70 per cent to agro dealers.
“Owing to the inadequacy of funds, IFAD-VCDP recently diverted its funds to tackle COVID-19 in the most pandemic countries.
“As a result of paucity of funds this year, IFAD-VCDP will support farmers in the state with 30 per cent subsidy in inputs, while the farmers will pay the balance of 70 per cent,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in the past, IFAD-VCDP paid the subsidy of 50 per cent while the farmers would pay balance of 50 per cent.
He urged the farmers to come out en mass to access the inputs, saying that the five-day exercise would take place in Borgu, Mokwa and Edati Local Government Areas of the state.
Ahmed said that the VCDP has started linking the farmers to agro-allied firms that would support them with inputs to enable them to pay back with agreed quantity of same inputs after harvest.
The coordinator said that the inputs available to the farmers included FARO 44 improved rice seeds, cassava cuttings, TIME-419 and vitamin “A” fortified varieties.
Others are fertilisers, urea and NPK (20-10-10) and agro-chemicals (herbicides).
Speaking, Alhaji Haliru Jikantoro, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, lauded the IFAD-VCDP and said that it was a huge success in the state.
Jikantoro, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Idris Gbogan, urged the farmers to insure their farms in order to secure their production.
He said that the Federal Government/ IFAD-VCDP intervention exposed the farmers to agri-business in terms of production, processing and marketing.
“I am proud that today our farmers can produce two to three circles of rice in a year,” he said.
Also, Ahmadu Zegi, the State Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, appealed to the farmers not to divert the inputs, but utilise them to boost food production.
Similarly, Malam Suleiman Rijau, Managing Director, Niger State Agricultural and Mechanisation Development Authority (NAMDA) thanked the IFAD-VCDP for impacting positively on the farmers and called for the continuity of the programme.
Responding on behalf of the farmers, Hajiya Hadiza Aliyu, a farmer from Mokwa said that the IFAD-VCDP has demonstrated transparency in supporting the farmers.
Aliyu said that the inputs would be utilised to increase food production