The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Assisted-Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP), on Saturday distributed farm inputs to 1,500 rice and cassava value chain farmers toward the success of 2018 planting season.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Mrs Adepeju Adebajo said while inaugurating the distribution input in Owode Local Government Area of the state, said the input distribution would help the farmers boost production.
The commissioner, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr Olatunbosun Mosuro, also expressed optimism that the inputs would assist farmers meet the challenges of food security.
Adebajo said that the beneficiaries were selected from five local government areas: Obafemi/Owode, Yewa North, Ijebu North East, Ijebu East,and Ifo.
She added said that the implementation of the programme was in line with the objective of Agricultural Promotion Policy (APP) and the National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
“The objective is to catalyse a market-led value added production, processing and marketing of rice and cassava commodities and other products by smallholders farmers,“ she said.
The commissioner explained that the objective of the programme would be achieved “through the adoption of best practices and innovations that increase efficiencies of value chain of the commodities.“
She also said that youths would be attracted to farming and gender inclusiveness ensured through the programme.
Adebajo noted that the programme was also in line with the mission of the present administration to rebuild Ogun.
The commissioner disclosed that since the inception of the FGN/IFAD/VCDP, over 6,000 farmers had been supported with inputs to cultivate 7,000 hectres of rice and cassava across the five participating local governments.
She added that the VCDP support to farmers had impacted positively on their productivity, adding that the average yield of cassava from 2015 increased from 10.1 metric tonnes per hecter to 25 metric tonnes per hectre in 2017.
The commissioner also disclosed that rice production increased from N1.6 metric tonnes per hectres to 4.4 metric tonnes per hectres within the same periods.
She, however, appealed to the farmers concerned to judiciously utilise the inputs for them to achieve higher productivity.
The commissioner said that the state government was determined to ensure food security in the state.
The Ogun Coordinator of VCDP, Mr Samual Adeogun, said the motive behind the distribution of the input was to provide farmers with the value chains to increase their productivity.
According to him, the rice and cassava value chain is FGN/IFAD support programme.
Adeogun said the input distributed consisted of fertiliser and herbicides, adding that farmers would pay 50 per cent and while government subsidised 50 per cent of the payment.
He said that the objective of the FGN/IFAD/VCDP was also to increase income and productivity as well as boost food security among small holder farmers who engaged in rice and cassava value chain.
“Our strategy is to work with farmers who are cultivating less than five hectres.
“We also want to work with youths and women involved in cassava and rice value chain who involve in the production, processing and marketing,
“The FGN/IFAD programme is expected to have 5,000 farmers but we have over 7,000 farmers across the five participating local governments in the state,” he said.
He advised the farmers to make use of the inputs effectively on their farm land in order to improve their yields.
Mr Johnson Ajibola and Mrs Lola Adeola, who spoke on behalf of the beneficiaries, commended government and IFAD-VCDP for their support.
They promised that they would make effective use of the inputs, in their farms, to boost food production.
They also promised to apply the skills they were taught during the pre-season training to boost agriculture in the state.