The International Fund for Agricultural Development/Value Chain Development Programme (IFAD/VCDP), on Friday, commenced monitoring and follow-up of rice farming activities of the beneficiaries of its agric inputs in Kogi state.
The Federal Government through the IFAD/VCDP had recently distributed free farm inputs such as fertiliser, certified rice seeds, and herbicides to more than 560 rural farmers in Kogi State
The gesture was aimed at boosting food security and cushioning the damaging effects of COVID-19 pandemic on rural farmers, tagged: ”Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (RPSF).
Speaking to journalists at cluster farm in Magajiya Lokoja, the Programme’s National Coordinator, Dr. Fatima Aliyu, said the essence of the monitoring was to ensure that beneficiaries which comprised of both youth and women rice farmers make judicious use of the farm inputs.
Represented by her Technical Assistant, Mal. Hamza Shehu, the national coordinator, said the monitoring exercise would be a continuous process from planting to harvesting activities, and the judicious use of the proceeds by the farmers to achieve the intended purposes.
“The monitoring exercise is also very critical in our commitment to justify our huge investment in Agriculture to reduce the aftermath effect of COVID-19 pandemic.
”From our assessment, I think the farmers in Kogi State like other states visited, are very committed, because they have prepared and cleared the land, planted the rice, while some have germinated,” she said.
She added that the farmers will be monitored to the point of harvest to ensure that the goals and objectives of the project are achieved.
Earlier, the Kogi State Coordinator of IFAD/VCDP, Dr Stella Adejoh, reassured her commitment and that of the state’s management team to ensure the success of the programme in the state.
Dr Adejoh emphasised that initiative was targeted towards alleviating the suffering of the vulnerable women and youth farmers and uplift them out of poverty to better their livelihood.
She commended the National Coordinator for her roles on improvement of agriculture to reduce poverty and ensure food and economic security.
She further thanked His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, for his support and commitment to the success of the VCDP programmes and activities in the state.
The team visited several rice farm clusters located in Lokoja and Ajaokuta Local Government Areas of Kogi, where the team expressed satisfaction with the positive response and commitments of the farmers to the rear opportunity.
Some leaders of the farm clusters in Kabawa, Magajiya and Geregu; Fatima Shehu, Kudu Mohammed and Ali Abi, respectively, expressed their joy for the rare privilege given to them.
They assured the team of their commitment to continuously comply with the conditions attached to the farm inputs provided them.