Sunday, 16 July 2017

IFAD Inspect's Cluster Farms in Benue

The Benue State Government and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have begun inspection of cluster farms in the state in its bid to improve the state’s agricultural practices.

This is part of a mid-term review which follows increasing demand for mechanized farming by cooperative farmers to boost crop production like cassava, rice and yam.

The Governor of the state, Samuel Ortom while applauding the successful partnership, says the programme will cut down wastage by 50% and increase the income of farmers by 80%.

Cooperative farmers at the logo cluster partnership farm project between the Benue state government and IFAD held a pre mid-review briefing.

Mr. Hwange Terna, a farmer at the review meeting identifies a few challenges like insufficient equipment and technical support.

He said “The issue of tractors, you know for ploughing and harrowing the farm land is a difficult one, like this year, we have only one tractor for ploughing and harrowing and we are finding it difficult”.

Beside these challenges, one of the farmers, Joyce Dzever, believes farmers now live a better and improved life since joining the scheme.

“I harvest the rice and sell to loam farms and I get money to pay my children’s school fees, about four of them. My small child is learning in Abuja at a nursery school and I pay N40, 000 as his school fees”.

The IFAD team leader, Mr. Samuel Eremie spoke on the November mid-term review while the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr Terver Akase commended the farmers’ contribution to food security in the country.

“We are here to see and assess the performance of Benue state among the six states participating in this programme against the target that has been set and in particular, considering that by November, we are going to have a mid-term review of the programme to be sure the programme is still on course”.

“The governor received the award as the best governor in the area of agriculture, Benue is the most improved state in agricultural development, it is a manifestation of the fact that the argic policy of the Samuel Ortom administration is really yielding result.

“We are hoping that between now and 2019, farmers in Benue that previously had their produce rot away, will now reduce that waste by 50% and their income level will step up by at least 80%”.

As farmers participating in the value chain programme brace up for the mid-term review, it is expected that the few challenges identified will be addressed.

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