FG, IFAD support Niger farmers with N125m inputs
The Federal Government and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) have said they are supporting farmers in Niger with N125 million worth of farm inputs.
Dr Mathew Ahmed, the Programme Coordinator in Niger, made this known in Kontagora at the inauguration of distribution of inputs for this year’s wet season farming in the state.
“We are assisting our farmers with N125 million, being 50 per cent of the total cost of the inputs, as the farmers are to pay a balance of N125 million to redeem their inputs,’’ he said.
Ahmed said that there were 255 VCDP farmers’ organisations in the state with 5, 238 members.
He said that the farmers comprising 4, 212 males, and 1,026 females would cultivate rice and cassava crops on 4, 991 hectares of land.
According to him, the expected yield of rice from the farmers will be 20, 000 metric tonnes for the season.
He said that redemption of the inputs was one month, beginning from June 12 to July12.
Ahmed said that the five participating Local Government Areas in the state include Kontagora, Bida, Wushishi, Katcha and Shiroro.
Alhaji Kabiru Musa, the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, while inaugurating the exercise, urged the farmers to judiciously utilise the inputs.
Musa said that his ministry would monitor the farmers to ensure that they complied with laid down rules.
“If you are caught selling these inputs in the market, you will be prosecuted,’’ he warned.
He commended the programme, saying that it was successful in the state.
“The FG/IFAD-VCDP has impacted positively on our farmers and our people, I want to use this opportunity to appreciate the stakeholders,’’ he said.
Dr Ameh Onoja, VCDP National Coordinator, also commended the farmers for embracing the programme, and urged them not to sabotage Federal Government’s efforts in regenerating agriculture by selling the inputs.
Onoja was represented by Mr Olorunyomi Jacob, VCDP Consultant.
Alhaji Isiaka Yusuf, the Chairman Apex Cassava Farmers in Kontagora who spoke on behalf of the farmers promised judicious use of the inputs geared at creating jobs, wealth and increased food production.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that each farmer would redeem four bags of 50 kilogrammes of NPK Fertilizers, two bags of 50 kilogrammes of Urea Fertilizers and one bag of Faro-44 (improved rice seedlings).
Other inputs include 50 bundles of cassava cuttings and four litres of herbicides.
NAN checks in the market revealed that a bag of 50kg of NPK Fertilizer sells for N8, 000, while a bag of Urea Fertilizer cost between N7, 000 to N8, 000.
The prevailing market price for a bag of 50kg of Faro-44 stood is N20, 000, a litre of herbicide cost N1, 500, while one bundle of cassava cuttings cost N500.
NAN also reports that six states, Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Niger, Ogun and Taraba are participating in the five-year programme that began in February, 2015.
The programme is aimed at enhancing smallholder farmers productivity, thus increasing the volume and quality of marketable produce by strengthening farmers’ organisations as well as supporting smallholder production.