IFAD injects N4bn into Ebonyi economy in 2016
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) said it injected N4 billion into the economy of Ebonyi in 2016 to support farmers.
Mr Sunday Ituma, the State Programme Coordinator, disclosed this on Saturday in Abakaliki while speaking on the recent distribution of farm inputs to farmers by the programme.
“IFAD’s intervention added over 2,500 metric tonnes of rice paddy to the rice production output of the state and supported 6, 245 farmers during the same period.
“We also piloted dry season farming in 2016 with the establishment of 32 hectare demonstration farms and accompanying impressive yields averaging 4.2 tonnes per hectare,” he said.
Ituma said that IFAD’s target was to support 10,000 farmers in 2017 as it has presently verified and approved 455 business plans with 7,478 farmers expected to cultivate 8,252 hectares.
“The cost of matching fund expected for this intervention is over N1 billion for which IFAD will contribute 50 per cent or over N500 million while the farmers are to provide the balance.
“This investment will add about 40, 000 metric tonnes of rice paddy to the rice output of Ebonyi and will translate to the generation of N6.4 billion in the state’s economy,’’ he explained.
He noted that the programme also funded the development of 200 hectares of farm lands at Ezillo, Ishiellu Local Government Area of the state and provided modern farm machinery to farmers for enhanced productivity.
“The machinery include: tractors, power tillers, among others, as we also provided support to extension services through the provision of motorcycles to extension agents.
“We also released funds to the state Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) and facilitated the profiling/training of farmers for the Anchor Borrowers Programme,” he said.
Ituma explained that under the Agricultural Market Development Component, IFAD intervened in the provision of rural roads, market stalls, aggregation centres, solar powered boreholes and construction of rice processing centres for which massive resources were deployed.
“Our input distribution system is technologically driven by Cellulant Nigeria Ltd which provides the electronic wallet platform while International Fertiliser Development Centre is the supply chain managers.
“Their involvement in the distribution system is to ensure transparency and distribution of quality inputs to farmers,” he said.