The Enugu state government under the leadership of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi in partnership with the Federal Government and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) through the Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) has on Wednesday empowered various Farmers Cooperatives with food processing equipment, rice mills, cassava mills, threshers, hammer mills, briquette machines, tricycles, rice polishers, de-stoners, sealing machines etc.
Paying a counterpart contribution annually, the Enugu state government under the leadership of Rt. Hon. Dr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi through IFAD/VCDP has since inception intervened in five selected Local Government Areas of Aninri, Enugu East, Nkanu East, Isi Uzo and Udenu based on their capacity for rice and cassava production, processing and marketing value chains.
Speaking at the event, the National Coordinator of IFAD/VCDP, Dr. Mrs. Fatima K. Aliyu stated that IFAD-assisted VCDP is an agricultural programme designed by the Federal government of Nigeria and IFAD to reduce rural poverty, increase food security and enhance accelerated economic growth among smallholder women and youths in 57 LGAs in 9 states (Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Enugu, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun and Taraba states). Dr. Aliyu noted that the programme is anchored on three major components among which includes: Agricultural Market Development where farmers are supported with demand-driven infrastructure investments, Smallholder productivity enhancement where farmers are supported with Agro-inputs and agri-business machineries/equipment for women and youths to enhance productivity.
Also at the event, the State Coordinator IFAD/VCDP, Dr. Edward Isiwu recalled that the administration of Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi since inception of the programme in September 2020 has judiciously committed huge counterpart funds annually in partnership with IFAD and the Federal government to ensure that agriculture is given utmost priority in the state. He further stated that the programme has so far achieved the following:
- Linked 52 Farmers Organisations with Off-Takers through signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
- Trained 590 processors (MA-84, MY-91, FA-243 and FY-173) on recommended technologies such as False Bottom Technology for rice processors, use of good and safe practices in food processing industry, use of Proper design, Quality management, and Sanitation practices in food processing, improved technology of processing odourless cassava fufu (wet paste) and tapioca as well as hygienic packaging for safety and long shelf life.
- Trained 1,273 value chain actors on standard weights and measures (use of electronic digital weighing scale in marketing).
- Linked 469 farmers were to the WhatsApp platform in preparation of the utilisation of the AMIS web-based software called e-VAMIS.
- Established CAF at the State, the 5 Local Governments and 24 clusters across the 5 LGAs.
- Supported the processors and producers including women and youths with series of equipment such as 5no harvesters, 5nos combined threshers and winnowers, 2nos rice milling machines, 3nos de-stoners, cassava planters, 5nos sealing machines and weighing scales, 2nos attrition machines and 1no cassava graters and hammer mill, 10nos seed planters and 2nos cassava stem planters. In addition to these, recently through the programme, the following were also distributed:
- 12nos ultra-modern rice milling machines (Normal de-husker with Diesel engine- 1,000kg/hr)
- 4nos rice haulers (De-husking, Polishing and Pre-cleaning – 1,000kg/hr)
- 20nos de-stoners (1,000kg/hr), 21nos bag sealers, 21nos weighing scales, 13nos cassava graters, 11nos dewatering press, 2nos hammer mills.
- 5 sets of nutrient dense equipment, 5nos thresher and winnowers, 7nos tricycles, 3no (13Hp) power tillers, 5no Seed Planters, 3nos (Water pumps for dry season rice farmers) and Agro inputs (Fertilizers, agro chemicals and sprayers for the PLWD).
- Six (6) processing centers have been constructed/ upgraded since inception. 4no rice processing centers with drying slab and parboiling shed (Rice PC each at Eha-Amufu in Isi Uzo LGA and Nara in Nkanu East LGA and Oduma in Aninri LGA) and 2nos Cassava Processing center with effluent discharge;
- 4nos markets were constructed; 2no Stalls at Ugwogo Nike in Enugu East LGA and Okpanku in Aninri LGA and 2no Stores at Eha-Amufu in Isi Uzo LGA and Orba in Udenu LGA;
- 6nos solar powered water boreholes were constructed at Ogbeke Nike in Enugu East LGA, Mbu at Isi Uzo LGA, Nkerefi and Nara in Nkanu East LGA, Orie Orba and Ezimo in Udenu LGA and about 2850 persons have access to the safe drinking water;
- 3no mini bridges were constructed. 1no completed at Eha-Amufu in Isi Uzo LGA while 2nos are still ongoing at Ako Nike and Nara;
- 5 culverts were constructed at Oduma in Aninri LGA, Ogbeke Nike in Enugu-East LGA, Eha-Amufu at Isi Uzo LGA, Amagunze in Nkanu East LGA, Owereeze in Udenu LGA.
- 3nos crèches were constructed each at the rice processing centers at Eha-Amufu, Nara and Oduma
- 96 persons in different committees (5 to 7-man committee) were trained on operation and maintenance of the infrastructure.
- VCDP has profiled a total of 500 Farmers’ Organisations comprising 5889 producers, 509 processors and 435 marketers (3066 [45%] male and 3763 [55%] female) which makes a total of 6829 value chain actors.
- 500 Farmers Organizations were registered Cooperatives with the Cooperative Department of Ministry of Human Capital Development and Poverty Reduction, Enugu State.
- 269 Farmer Organizations were strengthened to enabled them use bulk purchase method to procure their inputs
- 178 Value Chain actors emerged as LGA and cluster leaders. 18 Male Adults and 12 Female Adult emerged as LGA Apex leaders while 95 Male Adults and 53 Female Adult emerged as Cluster leaders
- VCDP trained 282 group leaders including Apex and CAF executives on record keeping, good governance, business management, and Leadership, and 1,605 participants were trained using GALS approach.
- Facilitated Farmer-to-farmer Learning visit of 11 farmers to Anambra and Ebonyi States.
- 1938 males and 2058 female farmers were supported with over 5000 bags of NPK, 2500 bags of Urea fertilizers, 1200 bags of Faro 44 seed rice, 80,000 bundles of cassava stems to cultivate 941 hectares (517ha rice and 424ha cassava) in Enugu State
- The farmers adopted at least one technology promoted by the programme as they were trained on the Good Agronomic Practices (GAP).
- Farmers supported for rice in 2020 and 2021 production cycles recorded an average yield of 4.7 and 5.2 metric tons per hectare respectively thus harvested and injected 1981.2MT of rice into the food basket of the State.
- 269 Farmer organizations received VCDP supported extension services
- 15 plots of FFBS (8 plots for rice and 7 plots for cassava) of 0.5 hectares each FFBS plots was established in the LGAs.
- 150 Hectares were developed in the State at Isi Uzo LGA (50 ha), Aninri LGA (25ha), Enugu East LGA (30 ha), Udenu LGA (30 ha) and Nkanu East LGA (15ha).
- VCDP established Seed Laboratory at the ADP Office, Enugu.
- 20 (11 male and 9 female) youths were trained at NRCRI, Umudike, Abia State on cassava stem production and supported with inputs.
- 16 (9 male and 7 female) youths trained at AfricaRice, Badeggi, Niger State as well as supported with Foundation Seeds and other inputs for rice seed multiplication.
- 51 women and youths trained under the Youth Entrepreneurship Programme on 9 different enterprises. E.g. Nutrient Dense, Rice and Cassava Floor Production etc.
- 56% of the total targeted beneficiaries profiled are women.
- 5 Youths attended Feed Nigeria summit held at Abuja.
- 35 Trained on AMIS
- 1,325 beneficiaries were trained on financial literacy by GIZ across 5 Local Government Areas (370 adult male, 525 adult female, 238 male youth and 192 female youth).
- Trained 55 VCDP financial suppliers, smallholder farmers and stakeholders on agricultural insurance process for increased adoption.
- The beneficiaries were linked to financial institutions such LAPO MFB, NAIC, Sterling Bank, FCMB, Umuchinerem MFB, etc
- A farmer organization (Porf Divine Far)
- Farmers MPCS at Enugu East LGA) received N300, 000 credit facility from LAPO for their Agri-business as a result of the linkage.
- The savings mobilization as at July, 2022 is valued at N40, 173,300 by 110 groups’ cassava groups and 114 Rice groups. The sum of N19, 307,900 was saved by rice groups while N20, 865,400 was saved by cassava groups.
- All the Input Dealers were linked to Sterling Bank and FCMB through which the IFAD contributions were paid for the inputs provided for farmers.
Still at the event, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Engr. Mike Ogbuekwe noted that IFAD/VCDP is a programme targeted at changing the narratives in the economy of rural communities where over 80% of the people are settled. In his word, “the IFAD VCDP is in line with the policy direction of Governor Ugwuanyi’s administration which is focused on lifting the livelihood of rural people whose life 70% revolves around agriculture thus contributing to the economy of the State”.
In his remark, the Honourable Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Dr. David Ugwunta commended the Executive Governor of Enugu state, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for prioritizing agriculture to boost the state economy thereby uplifting the living standard of the good people of Enugu state.
The occasion was grace with the presence of Government officials, the Executive Director of Development Education Center Enugu, Dr. Cecelia Asogwa, Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Chuka Ugwoke, Traditional Rulers, Reverend Fathers, agro-marketers, various Farmers’ Cooperatives, and representatives from financial institutions partnering with IFAD VCDP.