The Federal Government and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) has expressed satisfaction with its five-year intervention to rice and cassava farmers in Anambra.
Mr Bassey Unaowo, the Team Leader of a six-member VCDP Project Completion Review team, stated this on Saturday at Omor in Ayamelum Local Government Area at the end of its five-day working visit to the state.
Unaowo said the programme achieved its aims and objectives of impacting on the lives of rural farmers by improving and increasing their productivity along rice and cassava value chains.
“Most of them confessed that the impacts of the support of the programme were the capacity building on the best agronomic practices, improved seedlings and inputs which resulted in improved productivity, family income and standard of living.
“Another area the programme impacted greatly was the construction of rural roads, especially to the major rice and cassava clusters,” the team leader said.
However, Unaowo stressed the need for improved relationship between beneficiaries and financial institutions, especially as it concerned early commencement of profiling for timely distribution of inputs.
“We also noticed that the situation in which the rice produced in the state are being branded in another bag for another state is not a good development.
“That is not helping the state. I have discovered that the state is producing so much rice but are not popular in rice production compared with Ebonyi.
“This is because people use other bags to package Anambra produced rice,” he said.
While commending the state government for ensuring prompt payment of counterpart funds, Unaowo reminded beneficiaries to ensure proper maintenance of the infrastructure provided by the programme.
In his remarks, the State Programme Coordinator of –VCDP, Mr Nnamdi Agwuncha, promised to discuss with the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Mechanisation, Processing and Export on the issue of re-bagging of the rice produced in the state with foreign bags.
Mr Fidelis Onyia, a rice farmer and leader of the youth farmers’ group in Ayamelum local government area, who commended the programme for involving youths, said youths benefited from various trainings of the programme.
Onyia, who rated the programme 80 per cent, noted that the programme still had projects awaiting completion like the rice mill for farmers at Ayamelum as well as the landscaping of the project to ease spreading of rice.
He further appealed to the programme to ensure the completion of a borehole at the project site.
“In spite of the few projects awaiting completion, our product volume, sales and profit had skyrocketed above 100 per cent,” he stated.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the team visited Udoka and Nnedimma rice mills at Omor, a 2.5 kilometres farm access road at Opetepe, Ifite-Ogwari leading to 50 hectares of cassava farm land and the W-13 farm land at Amikwe village at Omor in Ayamelum LGA.
Other places visited were, the 3.7 kilometers farm access road, a 25 hectares cassava farm and a cassava processing centre all in Umueri, Anambra East Local Government Area, among others.
The programme was signed between the federal government and IFAD in 2014 to support small scale rural farmers and improve farming in rural areas for rice and cassava value chains.