Abeokuta, May 20, 2022 (NAN) The Federal Government on Friday in Ogun State distributed free inputs to 109 Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) rice farmers who were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Muhammed Abubakar, while flagging-off the exercise under the IFAD COVID-19 pandemic Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (RPSF) at Odeda Local government said it was to boost rice production.
Abubakar,who was represented by Mr Aminu Saidu from the Project Coordinating Unit in the Ministry, said the inputs were to support the poor of the poorest farmers that lost their produce during pandemic due to the lockdown.
He asserted that the aim of the intervention was to enhance food security and boost their production.
Abubakar, said Ogun State rice farmers were lucky to be among the nine states benefitting from the RPSF programme.
He added that the initiative would boost the ongoing effort of the ministry in its various interventions aimed at alleviating the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
The minister announced that the 109 farmers would be receiving free inputs consisting of 46 kilogrammes certified rice seeds, two liters of herbicides, two bags of NPK and one bag of Urea fertilisers.
He appealed to the farmers to utilise the inputs judiciously to boost food production, adding that this would encourage government to continue its support for them.
“You are being assisted by IFAD through VCDP with these inputs. Please don’t use them wrongly or sell them, because any time you see us again, we are here to carry out survey on how they were used,” Abubakar said.
He thanked the state government for creating an enabling environment for the farmers.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Adeola Odedina, represented by the VCDP state Programme Coordinator, Mr Samuel Adeogun commended the Federal Government for the programme, aimed at ensuring food security and improving farmers’ livelihoods.
Odedina said the implementation of the programme was in line with the agricultural revolution initiatives of the state governor, Dapo Abiodun.
He said the essence of the RPSF was to improve food security and resilience of farming households through the provision of production inputs.
The commissioner added that beneficiaries selected from the three local governments of the state had been screened and validated by a team from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, through the National Programme Management Unit (NPMU).
He said the inputs would boost agriculture and further complement the effort of the state government in increasing food production.
“Since inception of VCDP, in Ogun, over 10,000 small holder farmers have been supported with inputs, linkages to markets and credit across eight implementing local governments in the state” Odedina said.
He called on the farmers to take advantage of the initiative and ensure good agricultural practices in order to tackle the challenges of food security.
Also, Dr Fatima Aliyu, the National Programme Coordinator of VCDP who was represented by Mr Seriki Musa reaffirmed that the programme was to cushion the effect of the pandemic on farmers.
Aliyu said that the RPSF grant was meant for vulnerable VCDP farmers in states which included Enugu, Kogi, Nasarawa, Anambra, Benue, Niger, Ogun, Taraba and Ebony.
She said that the grant given was to sustain production and help the farmers recover more quickly from the impact of COVID-19.
Aliyu said that through the RPSF, 2,793 vulnerable farmers would receive agro inputs for the support of their farming activities.
She thanked the state governor for the commitment and support given to VCDP farmers.
Two of the beneficiaries, Mr Moshood Mejigbode and Mr Obilana Olushola, who spoke for others, thanked the federal and the state governments for their support.
They promised to make the best use of the inputs to boost their production and enhance food security.
The inputs were distributed to VCDP farmers from three local government areas, namely Odogbolu, Yewa South and Odeda.