ANAMBRA Government says it has earmarked N98.4 million as counterpart fund for the Federal Government and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP), for 2020 farming season.
The State Programme Coordinator of VCDP, Mr Nnamdi Agwuncha, made the disclosure recently in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Awka..
Agwuncha said the money would be spent mostly on the purchase of fertilisers, seeds and seedlings as well as agro-chemicals, among other farm inputs for distribution to farmers under the programme.
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The programme coordinator also stated that over 7,000 rice and cassava farmers would access the fund at 50 per cent (N45, 000) per hectare.
“Our target this year is to reach 7,000 rice and cassava farmers, to provide rural infrastructure at the three additional local government areas of Ihiala, Ogbaru and Orumba South and to build market stalls.
“We also plan to equip processing centres in the areas with milling and de-stoning machines,” he said.
Agwuncha said the programme further targets to provide three solar powered boreholes, create over 30 kilometers of access roads as well as develop farmland of over 150 hectares.
However, the coordinator said the State and Federal Governments’ directive on lockdown and social distancing to curtail the spread of COVID-19 had stalled some of its activities for the year.
He said a ten-hectare proposed irrigation project aimed at assisting farmers to cultivate rice all through the year at Omor in Ayamelum Local Government Area had been put on hold as a result.
“We were to launch the 2020 farming season and commence distribution of farm inputs today (March 31), but it was put on hold because of the restriction on social gathering.
“Also, we are supposed to have prepared production business plan for the farmers but most of these things are on hold because there is limitation to the extent we can go close to them,” he said.
He also added that while the program had organised sensitisation for farmers on the reality of COVID-19, he also urged them to maintain proper hygiene and to report any suspicious case to the government.
While commending Gov. Willie Obiano for his support to the programme, the Coordinator expressed confidence that the programme would still achieve all its objectives for the year.