As many as 958 vulnerable farmers in Kogi and Niger states gained access to agricultural inputs to support rice production to boost food security in the country in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The intervention is made possible through the grant from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) COVID-19 Rural Poor Stimulus Facility.
Speaking at the launch of the scheme in the states, the Acting National Program Coordinator of the FGN/IFAD Value Chain Development Programme, Dr. Fatima Aliyu said the grant is targeted at vulnerable farmers in the states. of the VCDP, including Enugu, Kogi, Nasarawa, Anambra, Benue, Niger, Taraba and Ebonyi, to support production and help them recover faster from the impact of the pandemic.
She said the project aims to improve the incomes and food security of poor rural households engaged in the production, processing and marketing of rice and cassava on a sustainable basis.
She noted that in early 2020, there was an outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic which affected the world and disrupted agricultural activities and food systems.
Accordingly, to cushion the effect of the pandemic on farmers, IFAD provided a grant titled Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (RPSF) to the VCDP through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Through the RPSF, 2,793 vulnerable farmers will receive agricultural inputs to support their agricultural activities. These inputs distributed free of charge consist of 40 kg of certified rice seeds, two liters of herbicides, two bags of NPK and a bag of Urea fertilizer.
Aliyu said 560 farmers have benefited from the intervention in Kogi including 398 in Niger.
The VCDP will also provide extension services to targeted farmers who will receive training on good practices in the application of fertilizers and agrochemicals as well as farm management and climate-smart agriculture.
According to the national coordinator, to improve the transparency of the process, the program has engaged the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) for the efficient management of inputs – procurement, reimbursement and delivery in the nine states through the reimbursement system for fertilizers. input vouchers.
She further pledged unwavering collaboration with states to improve the livelihoods and incomes of farmers and implored them to make wise use of inputs.
She added: “Inputs are not for sale, but for you to use on your farms. We will support you with extension services and monitor your progress to ensure you have better yields to improve your food security and income and ultimately your standard of living.
She also appreciated IFAD’s support in the country’s quest to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and in particular to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the agricultural sector, especially for VCDP farmers.