IFAD to train over 3,000 Benue rice farmers to boost food production in the country

MAKURDI..........Over 3,000 Benue rice farmers are to be trained by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, Value Chain Development Programme, VCDP, on good agronomy practice to further boost rice production in the country.

The IFAD-VCDP State Project Coordinator, Mr. Emmanuel Igbaukum made this known at a one day town hall meeting for rice farmers organized by the IFAD-VCDP, Anchor Borrowers Programme, ABP, in Makurdi.

Igbaukum explained that the success so far recorded by the programme in the state necessitated the enlisting of 3,000 more farmers for training in order to sustain the gains of the programme in the state.

He said, "six new local government areas considered as our outreach areas have been selected in this batch, they are Oju, Kwande, Katsina/Ala, Buruku and Otukpo while Gwer West was picked by the state government to replicate IFAD-VCDP.

"At the end of the training, the beneficiaries who are in cluster groups will be linked to the Anchor Borrowers Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, for funding."

Earlier, Team Leader of the Rural Finance Institution Building Programme, RUFIN, Mr. Adamu Ibrahim said Nigeria was expending N1billion daily on rice importation to bridge the shortfall of
two million out of the six metric tonnes, required daily in the country.

Ibrahim said the development was constituting a drain on the nation's scarce foreign exchange "hence rice farmers should take up the challenge to bridge that gap from within and not through importation.

In his remark, the Commissioner for Agricultural, Mr. James Anbua said the state government would continue to support the programme and also ensure that its gains were sustained in the state.


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