By Justina Asishana, Minna
One hundred and sixty (160) agro-processors and farmers in Niger State have benefited from the distribution of production and processing equipment worth N75 million from the IFAD assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP-AF) in Niger State.
The beneficiaries include six agro-processing groups with 25 members in each group and 10 farmers.
Speaking at the flag-off ceremony of the distribution of the equipment, the IFAD-VCDP National Programme Coordinator, Alhaji Garba Bala said the distribution became necessary because of the need to reduce drudgery in farming and encourage youths into farming.
He said N75 million was expended for the purchase of the equipment, out of which the farmers paid 30 per cent while IFAD-VCDP paid 70 per cent.
Bala said that IFAD-VCDP has also procured N100 million worth of farm inputs for the 2021 dry season farming to distribute to farmers in the participatory local government areas of the state.
He urged the state government to meet up to its commitment by paying up its counterpart fund, especially as Niger State is one of the biggest and strongest beneficiaries of the IFAD-VCDP.
The Niger State Programme Coordinator, Dr Mathew Ahmed said the equipment cost the VCDP N55 million, adding that the equipment would encourage more youth and women participation in farming and address climate issues associated with the use of agricultural equipment.
“If you want to encourage agriculture, you must work to reduce drudgery by providing equipment that are women and youth friendly. This equipment would address climate issues by reducing the emission of carbon monoxide into the atmosphere. It will encourage the youths to go into more production aspect. This is part of the strategy of smart climate agriculture.” Ahmed said.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Haliru Zakari Jikantoro while applauding IFAD for the gesture, assured that the government would do its best to ensure that its counterpart fund is paid in due time.
Equipment distributed include, power tillers, rice reapers, sprayers, rice polishers, destoners, rice paddy cleaner, steam parboilers, rice milling machine, gari fryer, cassava presser, cassava grater, cassava siever, mini combined harvesters, sprayers and UDP applicator.
Source: The Nation