The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)-assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) says its nine years of operation in Ebonyi greatly enhanced the lives of benefiting farmers.
The national programme coordinator of IFAD-VCDP, Fatima Aliyu, made the declaration in Abakaliki during the official distribution of agricultural equipment and agrochemicals to beneficiaries in the state.
Mr Aliyu, represented by Gidado Bello, the human resource advisor at IFAD-VCDP headquarters, Abuja, said such enhancement led to improved empowerment, food production and security.
“One of our biggest achievements is the perfect alignment of our programmes with policies of the Ebonyi government.
“These equipment represent the kind of intervention we give to rice and cassava farmers in benefiting states.
“This is not all but a bit of such intervention we have consistently given to beneficiaries in Ebonyi, and they appreciate them,” he said.
He noted that the equipment would form the ‘one-stop agro-input store” where farmers can pick what they need to improve their livelihood.
Governor Francis Nwifuru, in a message, said IFAD had been instrumental to the progress recorded by the government in assisting farmers.
Mr Nwifuru, represented by the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Nkechinyere Iyioku, said such assistance included the provision of grants, farm inputs, and access roads to farmlands, among others.
“IFAD is currently distributing rice, cassava production and processing equipment, among others, to farmers from eight participating local government areas,” he said.
Chioma Nweze, the Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Community Development, urged the beneficiaries not to despair due to challenges encountered in the farming ventures.
“IFAD-VCDP is about the people and communities, and I urge you to save from the proceeds of your produce,” she said.
Mr Sunday Ituma, the state programme coordinator of IFAD-VCD, said that the beneficiaries contributed about 30 per cent of the equipment while IFAD-VCDP contributed the rest, totalling N60.9 million.