FG/IFAD strategise to scale up VCDP impact on farmers


THE International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) says the Federal Government/IFAD-Value Chain Development (VCDP) Medium Term Review (MTR) Mission, will further enhance performance of the project in targeted states.

Dede Ekoue, IFAD Country Director, said this at the ongoing joint Federal Government/IFAD-VCDP MTR on Friday, in Abuja.

Ekoue who said VCDP aimed at reaching no fewer than 135,000 small holder farmers in the middle belt area, noted that MTR mission was basically to ensure effectiveness of the programme implementation.

According to her, the MTR is to discuss if the programme needs readjustment, to take into account the impact of external challenges such as the Ukraine-Russian war, inflation and climate change effects like the recent floods.

She noted that the three issues were the biggest challenges benefitting states were facing, and so IFAD planned to scale up the programme to have greater impact on small holder farmers in Nigeria.

The country director identified VCDP as one of the major agricultural programmes in Nigeria that focused on enhancing income and ensuring food security for indigent rural households engaged in the sustainable production, processing and marketing of rice and cassava.

According to her, it is to review implementation performance such as project management quality, performance of key partners, innovation and learning, gender, poverty and climate/environment focus.

“MTR is to Identify implementation constraints, as well as recommendations and suggestions on any re-structuring, re-designing and amendments necessary that might be desired to improve programme effectiveness.

“This is a very important mission that is going to assess progress so far made by VCDP, identify the challenges beneficiaries are facing, and also the opportunities.

“The goal is to trace a trajectory in the second half of the project implementation,” Ekoue said.

Also Mr Abbas Nazeer, Deputy Director, Federal Ministry of Finance pledged the ministry’s commitment to doing the needful in ensuring successful implementation of the programme.

Similarly, Mr Peter Kush, Acting Director, Programme Coordinating Unit, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, tasked the mission on far reaching solutions to challenges hindering the effective implementation of VCDP.

Dr Fatima Aliyu, National Programme Coordinator, IFAD/VCDP, said the overall goal of the mission was to strengthen it and make it more effective and efficient in the delivery of VCDP’s objectives.

Aliyu said: “MTR mission is to help maximise benefits of the innovative VCDP programme for rural smallholder farmers, and for the overall development of the middle-belt region.

“It is aimed at harnessing the existing opportunities, in order to safeguard and scale up the progress made so far by VCDP.”

Aliyu listed the participating states of VCDP to include; Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Niger, Ogun, Taraba, Enugu, Kogi and Nasarawa.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the MTR mission, which commenced on Nov. 21, will be concluded on Dec. 16. (NAN)