CEM REPORT, AGRICULTURE | To further boost rice production in the country the Federal Government in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development-Value Chain Development Programme (IFAD-VCDP), has distributed rice farm inputs worth more than N25m to farmers in Enugu.
This is as the state received additional 43 hectares making it 96 hectares for this dry season rice farming.
The inputs were distributed on Saturday during the beginning of the Agency’s 2022/2023 dry season Agro-input distribution at the IFAD/VCDP office in Enugu.
The items include bags of rice seeds, bags of NPK fertilisers, bags of Indorama Urea fertilisers, and herbicides of selective and non-selective.
Others are, rice planters and harvesters, de-stoning machines, water pumps, rice milling machines, and cassava processing machines, News Agency of Nigeria reports.
Addressing the farmers, the State Programme Coordinator IFAD/VCDP, Dr Edward Isiwu, said the state was planning 59 hectares initially to grow rice this dry season.
He noted that Enugu received additional 43 hectares from the national, making it 96 hectares for this dry season rice farming.
Furthermore, he noted that the distribution is the fourth in two years in the state by the agency.
“Today is one of those days we have been doing this type of thing and this is the fourth time we are doing this in two years since we took off the activities of IFAD-VCDP in Enugu.
“The first one was in January 2021 for the dry season and we have two seasons; Wet and Dry seasons.
“We are kicking off the dry season farming and the farmers have prepared their land in readiness for the season.
“We tried this dry season farming last year and there was a bumper harvest, I believe this year will be better.
“The previous distributions yielded good results, so, farmers should go to their collection centres and claim their inputs.“
On her part, the National Programme Coordinator, Fatima Aliyu, explained the programme focused on rural poor farmers.
She, therefore, encouraged Enugu IFAD-VCDP farmers to do more and noted that everything about IFAD-VCDP in Enugu State was prayers answered.
“We support farmers in groups and not individually and from our research, rice does well in the dry season.
“Whatever concerns rice and cassava is our responsibility and that is why it is called value chain; this is because VCDP supports farmers in production, processing and marketing.
“Out of the nine states, VCDP intervenes, Enugu remains one of the best and needs to do more to attract more support.”
Aliyu, who was represented by the Value Chain Development Programme Agricultural Production Adviser, Dr Chyka Unamma, appreciated the farmers for their enthusiasm for the programme.
Similarly, the Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, South East zone, Benjamin Puja, praised the coordinator for a wonderful scorecard.
He said the Federal Ministry of Agriculture was proud to identify with what FGN/IFAD-VCDP was doing in the state.
“With the support of this project to farmers, especially women who form the largest part of the farming population in Nigeria, I’m just proud of you.”