Abuja, Nov. 28, 2023 (NAN) The Federal Government says over five million smallholder farmers have benefitted from the IFAD supported agricultural programmes in the country.
The programmes were funded by the Federal Government and International Fund for Agricultural Development (FG/IFAD).
They include Value Chain Development Programme; Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises in Niger Delta; Climate Adaptation and Agribusiness Support Programme; and Rural Finance Institution-Building Programme.
The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari, made this known in Abuja on Tuesday at the National Launch of the Value Chain North (VCN) Project Design Mission, being funded by the FG, IFAD and French Development Agency (AFD).
Kyari expressed delight that the programmes generated positive impacts in spite of challenges such as COVID-19 pandemic, drought, flood, among others.
The minister, represented by Mr Musa Bukar, Director Programme Coordinating Unit in the ministry, said the VCN is an intervention that would contribute to sustainable poverty reduction, enhance nutrition and a resilient rural economy in some northern states.
He said the project co-financed by IFAD, AFD and other development partners would boost food production and climate resilience while reducing post harvest losses, enhancing food security and nutrition in the states with fragile situations.
“”The VCN design mission is in line with the food systems transformation agenda and the recent Presidential declaration of emergency in Nigeria’s food sector which require a multi-sectoral, multifaceted approach if we are to succeed.
“VCN is in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals one, two, three and 13 among others.”
Kyari added that it was also aligned to the National Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy, Agricultural Sector Food Security and Nutrition Strategy, National Development Plan, and National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy (NATIP).
“The intervention is also in line with IFAD Policies and Corporate Priorities in the areas of its Strategic Framework, Strategy and Action Plan on Environment and Climate Change 2019 to 2025, and Nutrition Action Plan 2019 to 2025, among others,” he said.
The minister called on the design team to pay attention to the voices of smallholder farmers, women, youth and vulnerable groups, the private sector, off-takers, agribusinesses, financial institutions, and service providers.
Mrs Dede Ekoue, IFAD Country Director, said VCD would engage 456,000 beneficiaries equivalent to 91,000 households in the northern states to boost food production, climate adaptive capacity and resilience, among others.
“It is in line with NATIP and the president’s agenda for agribusiness transformation.
”The project’s ambition is to enhance the integration of farmers in agribusiness value chains while taking specific measures to facilitate youth and women agric-entrepreneurship, foster partnership with private sector, modernising agriculture through the use of digital solutions.
”This aims to harness the potential of the agri-food system for promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth, increasing job creation and income.
“These can be achieved through development of stronger, better integrated, inclusive and resilient value chains that boost rural development,” she said.
Ms Sally Ibrahim, Project Manager, AFD identified nutrition as the major component of the programme.
Ibrahim, representing Mr Xavier Muron, the AFD Country Director, said better coordination among different stakeholders in the project was key in achieving its objectives.
Samuel Eremie, Lead Consultant of the project, said the VCN has eight years duration, and will start in Sokoto, Kebbi, Jigawa, Zamfara, Borno, Katsina, Yobe and Kano States