Seven states in northern Nigeria are set to benefit from the N8 billion intervention fund set aside by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to boost agricultural production in the country.
The Head of Knowledge Management Communication of the Fund, Abdullahi Surajo, said that the Fund had engaged 207 farmer groups in the benefiting states of Katsina, Kebbi, Jigawa, Zamfara, Sokoto, Yobe and Borno.
Abdullahi said the funds would go into the provision of training for farmers on new agricultural techniques, climate change adaptation and agribusiness support programme.
According to him, the Fund would establish a farmer’s field school to provide training for the farmers on new farming methods to equip them to cope with climate change and global warming affecting agriculture and farmers.
He explained that Business Schools, would be established to train farmers on suitability of crops chosen for cultivation and the marketing strategy for the sale of the commodities.
“IFAD Climate Adaptation and Agribusiness Support Programme, IFAD-CASP, was introduced to help combat climate change and global warming and the scheme was designed to empower farmers to move to commercial agriculture from subsistence farming.” He explained
He noted that the agency’s investment in Nigeria’s agriculture was meant to make Nigeria the food basket of the continent.
Abdullahi advocated for massive food production in the country as a panacea to the current economic crisis in the country.
He however cautioned that persistent herdsmen/farmers clashes in parts of the country would continue to pose a challenge to the government’s efforts at attaining food sufficiency.
He added that a strategic growth in the nation’s agricultural sector would quicken the country’s recovery.
Consequently, he said that over 10 million rural poor Nigerians had benefited from IFAD financed programmes in Nigeria.
“The infrastructural and agricultural projects supported by IFAD-VCDP in the rural communities have gone a long way to improve the livelihood and food production capacity of the benefiting rural dwellers “ he said.
“While we commend the Olam Group for partnering the programme in Benue State, we are happy to state that Benue is the first under the IFAD-VCDP to embark on dry season rice farming, which is currently being harvested,” the IFAD official stated, adding that the programme was targeting 14.2 million poor Nigerians.