By Stephen Adeleye.
The Federal Government through the Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP-AF), has commenced the distribution of inputs to Kogi farmers affected by flood disaster to enhance maximum yield in the dry season farming.
The program which was supported by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD/VCDP), was meant to compensate farmers whose farmlands were submerged by flood disaster that ravaged the state.
The National Programme Coordinator (NPC), FGN/IFAD-VCDP, Dr Fatima Aliyu, launched the inputs’ distribution on Wednesday at Agricultural Development Project (ADP), Felele, Lokoja.
Items distributed include: fertiliser, certified rice seed, selective and nonselective herbicides, water pumps, among others.
Represented by Mr Gidado Bello, the IFAD/VCDP’s Human Resource Adviser, the NPC said the distribution was a flood recovery strategy input to support beneficiaries in Kogi.
She said the aim was to cushion the devastating effects of flood disaster on farmers, increase their yield and boost food security in the state.
”Our presence here is to show our farmers affected by flood that VCDP care for them.
”We are here to show our empathy for Kogi farmers whose farmlands, sweat, livelihood and hard earned resources were destroyed by flood.
”We share in your losses and wellbeing. We are always with you and we will continue to be with you to improve on your life and livelihood,” Aliyu said.
The NPC stressed that the intervention was special because it was meant to address a specific situation that was peculiar and memorable to them, saying the inputs would be strictly monitored to achieved its intended purpose.
She, therefore urged the beneficiaries to make good use of the items in order to recover their losses to flood, increase their yield and boost food security in the state.
”Once you demonstrate your commitments and directly use the inputs given to you to achieve its intended purpose, you will get more from us.
”We are eager to see the impacts of this intervention we are giving you which would have greater positive impacts on your wellbeing, family, state and Nigeria at large,” Aliyu said.
The NPC thanked the state government for its support, cooperation and passion for the full implementation of VCDP projects in Kogi, as well as the Kogi ADP for her consistency in supporting its programmes.
She commended Dr Stella Adejoh, for demonstrating high level of competence, ability and confidence in carrying out her assignment, and appreciated the state’s VCDP team for their maximum support.
In his remarks, the state’s Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr David Apeh, who launched the distribution, advised the farmers to adhere to all the advice given to them by NPC and the SPC.
Apeh stressed that the State Government valued all the IFAD/VCDP programmes, saying it had greatly impacted the lives of the farmers in the state .
He advised the farmers to effectively utilise the dry season farming very well to recover what they had lost to flood disaster.
Earlier, Dr Stella Adejoh, the State Programme Coordinator (SPC), said 261 farmers who lost their farmlands and source of livelihood to flood disaster would get the inputs in the state.
She said the intervention was majorly to cushion the flood effects, increase their income and reduce poverty.
According to Dr Stella, 100 farmers benefit from Lokoja, 100 from Ibaji and 61 from Ajaokuta Local Government Areas.
The SPC noted that the VCDP had earlier distributed farm inputs to support over 240 farmers affected by flood with one hectare of farmland each, making a total of 501 farmers that had benefitted from the flood intervention program so far in Kogi.
”We cried out to VCDP for assistance and today, the IFAD/VCDP is distributing free inputs as well as water pumps to the affected farmers.
”We are encouraging the farmers to engage in dry season farming, so that they can plant and reap their harvest within the dry season period.
”We are appealing to the farmers not to sell the inputs because we will monitor it down to the farm for its intended purpose.
”The inputs have been given to you as intervention to cushion the flood effects on your wellbeing, you must make good use of it.
”As we are supporting them with inputs, the same way we are also building their capacity through training on good agronomic practices, financial inclusion on how to save money and draw up their own business plan,” she said.
She appreciated Governor Yahaya Bello, for his commitments to the implementation of the VCDP projects in Kogi, especially the prompt payment of its counterpart funds.
On his part, the ADP Managing Director, Mr George Ogirima, commended Kogi Government for always living up to expectations of rural farmers.
Ogirima commended the SPC for her commitment to the project, and thanked the governor for putting agriculture on the front burner in the state.
”Today is another very historic day for the farmers. Kogi is the worst hit state during the recent flood disaster where our farmers lost all their means of livelihood.
”The intervention by the VCDP was timely and several of their quality projects in Kogi. ADP is a reliable partner,” Ogirima said.
The MD noted that ADP had carried out a flood mitigation training for stakeholders in Kogi, and urged the farmers to key into the the agency’s mitigation training.
Some of the beneficiaries, Mr Mohammed Aliyu, Mrs Zainab Musa, Mrs Iyawo Alfa and Salihu Abdullahi, all thanked Kogi IFAD/VCDP for the inputs, promised to utilised the items for their own benefits.