IFAD Agric Project Boosts Nigerian Economy with $68.9million

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From:  Azeez Ibrahim, Abuja

The National Programme Coordinator, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Value Chain Development Programme, Dr. Ameh Onoja on Tuesday said the VCDP contributed $68.9 million to the Nigerian economy between 2014 and 2018.

Onoja said the country made the revenue via annual sales of 140, 000 Metric tons (mt) of Rice and 30, 000mt of Cassava.

He disclosed this at a workshop on Commodity Alliance Forum (CAF), held in Abuja.

His words: “Through this model, the program has doubled farmer’s income and created a reliable and sustainable raw materials supply system to processors in the participating states.

“The key private sector drivers of the platform are major off-takers like OLAM in Benue and Taraba, Onyx in Niger, Popular farms and FTK Cassava Mills in Taraba, Ebonyi Rice World in Ebonyi, Harvest Feeds and Agro-Processing Limited in Ogun and JOSAN Nigeria Limited in Anambra.

“The engagement of the private sector players by the VCDP through CAF has resulted in 140, 000 mt of rice and 30, 000 mt of cassava on an annual basis, which correspond to $68.9 million as incremental sales and revenue into the Nigerian economy.”

The six participating states are Niger, Benue, Anambra, Ebonyi, Ogun and Taraba.

Onoja described CAF as a business transaction and knowledge sharing platform for farmers, government and private sectors in the participating states.

He commended the contributions of OLAM to the development of the rice value-chain and CAF in Benue, which he said earned the VCDP national and international awards.

IFAD Programme Officer, Ms. Mariatu
Kamara in her remarks, emphasized the importance of public private partnerships in project execution especially the CAF model.

She said aside from acting as transaction, market inclusion and empowerment forum for smallholder farmers, it links parties together leveraging resources to upscale farmers performance, increase their income as well as living standard.

Ms. Kamara explained that through the project CAF model, smallholder farmers in Benue state only, produced 25,000mt of farm crops and realize an estimated $9 million proceeds.

“This represents huge injection in the domestic economy and is in alignment with the objectives of the VCDP,” she said.

She appealed to the Federal Government and other state executives to adopt the model in order to provide credit supports, inputs and markets for rural farmers across the states.

Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri in his keynote address, lauded the initiative, stressing that the current administration had been working in partnership with the private sectors to ensure food security

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