1,670 Ebonyi Farmers to Benefit from IFAD Program in 2019
By Chibueze Victor, Abakaliki
The country office of International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, has approved the business plan to support 1,670 farmers for those who can do 1,670 hectares of rice or cassava farm.
This is as a result of the intervention on enhancing rice and cassava value chains for sustainable agricultural development, which Ebonyi is said being among the beneficiary states, cost about #130m of which the farmers will be contributing 50% as the cost of the match grant equitable to the #65million given free of charge.
Consequent upon this, Governor David Nweze Umahi has flagged off the distribution of 2019 wet season inputs for Ebonyi farmers on last Wednesday for the enhancement of government and state governments value chain development programme on rice and cassava production.
Addressing the beneficiaries at IFAD office in Onuebonyi Izzi, Ebonyi state, Governor Umahi extolled the IFAD country office for providing fund and technical guidance, which he said through their National and state programme management units have enhanced tremendously agricultural production in the state, particularly in sustaining transformation of rice and cassava chains.
The Governor ably represented by the Permanent Secretary Designate in the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Rita Mary Okoro, advised the the beneficiaries to judiciously make use of the opportunity for the benefit of the state and the nation at large.
The governor warned the beneficiaries to not sell out the inputs including rice seedlings, cassava stems, fertilizer, herbicides, among others.
“The advice I have for you the beneficiaries is that, you should not sell out the inputs, rather make good use of them for it will help you, our state and the nation at large.
“We are aware that we have so many farmers in our state, and it is our tradition in this state to support farmers, that’s why farmers are always advised to get access to agric credit facilities so that they can be on their own, we have many business plans, for now farmers requested for this year and only 1,670 was approved for the state especially the new local government area, we will continue doing our best to support massively the farmers, those farmers it didn’t reach this year, it will reach them next year. We hope if farmers maintain their proper farming method, this year harvest will be something the state will be very proud of”, the representative of governor assured.
Also Speaking, the National Programme Coordinator, Dr. Ameh Onoja, represented by Dr. Chika Unama, expressed joy that the state governor did not waste time in giving approval for the roll out of the farm inputs.
He noted that Ebonyi and Anamba have been two states of south-east recognized most in the programme.
He enumerated 6 beneficiary States which including Enugu, Niger, Benue, Taraba, Anambra and Ebonyi, encouraging Ebonyi rice farmers to increase in their capacity as in his words, rice farming has boosted the state economy, adding that Abakaliki rice is fasten up to taking centre stage in Africa.
In his remark, the state Programme Coordinator, Sunday Michael Ituma, stated that the essence of having the programme is to improve the livelihoods of farmers by supporting them with what is call matching grant which he said means the programme will provide 50 percent of the input free of charge while the 50 percent cost of the inputs given to the farmers would be balanced by them.
Ituma said the programme started in 2012 but they did not start implementation till 2014, and presently ranging from that time, 15, 000 farmers have been reached in the state.
He further stated that the programme’s calculated effort had injected over ‘N10 billion into Ebonyi state economy’, maintained that facts could speak for them.
The state programme coordinator, pointed out the programme intervention on land development, giving an instance of Ezzillo in Ishielu council area, where 200 hectares of land have received their attention.
This is including their mechanization of farmers especially youth, through what he called factorization services to utilize talents, adding the programme has been aligning with the state policy to ‘build, for example, before two weeks time rice processing centres, one at Iboko in Izzi Council area and another one in Ivo council,’ as they proceeded to ‘build a cassava processing centre at Edda’ in Afikpo South council area among rural access road about ’42km’, over ’60 culverts and bridges’, and markets already built.
Meanwhile, one of the beneficiaries, Barr. Mrs. Edu Elizabeth, expressed happiness for having been reached with the farm input, calling the State and Federal governments to sustain the tempo.