The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)- Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) said that Niger State has been identified as the best among the six states participating in its programme.
Dr Mathew Ahmed, the State Programme Coordinator (SPC) for Niger, made this known during an interview with the News men in Minna.
Ahmed said that the state was leading in implementation of the VCDP in rice and cassava among the six participating states of Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Ogun and Taraba.
“Recently, IFAD engaged the services of an independent International Benchmarking Assessor to review and assess the performances of the VCDP states from inception to date.
“The benchmarking exercise commissioned by IFAD in November 2017 to independently assess the performance of the implementation in states indicated that we (Niger State) placed first with 25 points against 19 points scored by Anambra,’’ he said.
Ahmed said that the exercise used in assessing participating states includes a summary of implementation performance based on the programme’s three components for the reporting period of January 2015 to December 2017.
The coordinator said that the objective of the assessment was to identify the two best performing states that the programme would extend its services to in two more area councils from the five already benefiting.
“It means that Niger state will have two more local government areas added to Bida, Wushishi, Katcha, Kontagora and Shiroro that are already benefiting,’’ he said.
He said that a critical area where VCDP in the state has demonstrated its leadership position among other states was promotion of innovations in support of the programme implementation.
“It has pioneered the promotion of Climate Smart Card and weather forecasting equipment which reads indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity,’’ he said.
15,627 farmers in the state, which includes 11,948 rice farmers and 3,679 cassava farmers, benefits from the programme.