The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)-assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) says it has extended its operational scope to three Local Government Areas of Ivo, Ohaukwu and Ezza North in Ebonyi.
Until now, the programme operates only in five local government areas of the state -Afikpo South, Ikwo, Ohaozara, Izzi and Ishielu.
Mr. Darlington Onele, the IFAD-VCDP Agricultural Production Officer (APO) in Ebonyi disclosed this on Tuesday at Iboko, headquarters of Izzi LGA during one day training for lead-farmers and extension agents in preparations for the planting season.
Onele, disclosed that the IFAD-VCDP headquarters in Rome, Italy approved the extension of the operational scope to the LGAs. “The IFAD-VCDP headquarters approved additional financing for VCDP Nigeria after adjudging it the best IFAD programme since its inception.
“Aside the approval of the additional financing to the three councils in Ebonyi, it also approved extension to three states of Kogi, Nasarawa and Enugu,” he said.
The APO said that to ensure the success of the programme in the additional council areas, it had commenced preliminary activities in the councils. “We have commenced the mapping of farmers’ organisations in the areas as well as profiling of farmers. We are meeting with farmers in the new LGAs and have created a data base for farmers involved in cassava and rice value chains in the new LGA’s.
“The new LGAs will have lots of benefits as we have trained lots of manpower in the existing council areas that will be drafted to the new ones to accelerate activities. We have also trained many lead-farmers in the existing areas and they can institute inter-LGA visits for the benefit of farmers in the new councils,” he said.
He noted that the one-day training was an annual event to make lead-farmers and extension agents prepare adequately for the new farming season. “These lead-farmers and extension agents would step the knowledge acquired from this training and train farmers in various farmer organisations in their localities,” he said.
Mr. Ugwu Onah, the Resource Person at the training, said it would train benefitting farmers on steps to take in recording bountiful harvests from their rice and cassava planting endeavours.
“They will be trained on the type of soil that will suit the crops, choosing of seeds and stems varieties, land preparation, application of fertilizers and pesticides,” he said.
Mrs Cynthia Eze, a lead-farmer from Izzi LGA said that she would adequately educate farmers in various farm organisations in her locality to ensure a successful planting season. (NAN)