The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) value chain development program, in collaboration with the federal government, distributed farm inputs amounting to N52, 000,000 to 300 cassava and rice farmers in Benue State on Tuesday.
The state program coordinator, Mr. Emmanuel Igbaukum, disclosed this during the flag off ceremony of the distribution in Makurdi.
According to him, “the youths will also be supported with tricycles, power tillers, knack sack sprayers, water pumps, thrashers, direct seeders, rice milling machines, scales, bag closers, and packaging materials.
“Other inputs include graters, pressers, wet hammers, fryers, sieving machines, weighing scales, and bag closers,” Igbaukum said.
He said IFAD-VCDP had prioritized the non-diversion of fertilizers and other agro-inputs as well as the quality of fertilizers to be distributed to the farmers.
He lamented that IFAD-VCDP had received reports of substandard fertilizers being sold to farmers, stressing that it could not be tolerated.
He emphasized that it was their responsibility to ensure that only high-quality fertilizers reach farmers in order to boost productivity.
He called on the government to support the IFAD project by releasing counterpart funds on time for effective implementation of the project’s mandate.
The national programme coordinator, Dr. Fatima Aliyu, corroborated Igbaukum by stating that IFAD was
counting on the state government’s continued support through the timely payment of counterpart funds.
Aliyu, who was represented by the national procurement officer, Mr. Baba Yakubu, assured the state government of a sustained collaboration with the state to improve and sustain the livelihoods and income of farmers in the state.
Also, the acting permanent secretary of the state Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Nat Adzuu, lauded the intervention of IFAD, particularly the 2023 input distribution, stressing that it came at a critical time when prices of farm inputs had skyrocketed.
“This made it very difficult for our smallholder farmers to attain and expand their production potentials,” Adzuu said.