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6,536 farmers benefitted from IFAD programme in Ogun —Coordinator

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What is the essence of the programme?

The essence of the programme going on today is a mid-term review. The programme is a six-year programme and we have gone midway in the implementation of the programme. So, it becomes very imperative for the review of how far, how well have been done. What has worked with respect to the processes put in place; what has not worked well so that we can review those processes and see how we can better implement going into the second half of the programme.


You mentioned that 6,536 farmers have been profiled and trained with N242m paid as counterpart fund. How has this translated to rice and cassava production in the state?

It’s necessary to state the facts correctly that the 6,000 farmers you are talking about are just in five local governments because the programme is only being implemented in five local governments namely Obafemi-Owode, Yewa North, Ijebu North East, Ijebu East and Ifo local government. And because of that, you may see that the number of farmers you are talking may not represent the entire farmers we have in the state. But the impact of this on cassava and rice value chain cannot be over-emphasized. One, there has been increase in the yields of rice and cassava in the state. The programme’s beneficiaries contributed immensely to the MITROS rice programme that took off in the state in 2017 and there is an increase in off-taking of cassava by some of the major processors that we have in the state.

The main objective of the programme is to encourage cassava and rice value chain. Are there plans to extend it to other food and cash crops?

The objective of the programme is to increase the incomes and productivity of small holder farmers in cassava and rice value chain. So, with that, we believe that with the little successes that we’ve had, the value chain approach can be used to develop the other stocks and even the livestock and fisheries industry.


What is the target for the remaining part of the programme?

The target for the remaining half of the year is to be able to fully implement, ensure that the incomes of our farmers in these participating local governments have increased by over 25 percent by the end of this project. Equally, we expect that our farmers should be able to produce to the point wherein the market can absorb close to 70 percent of their produce without jeopardising their food security.


On a general assessment, would you say the programme has been serving the purpose of creation?

Well, without being immodest, the project has made some significant contribution and impact in the participating local governments.


What are the challenges so far?

Some of the challenges; we are dealing with small holder farmers who are rural poor. So, their being able to meet some of their own contributions, at times, have been very difficult. Two is the issue of this farmers/herdsmen which we are also looking at how that can be resolved by encouraging some of these herdsmen to become part of the farmers groups so that they can also begin to have ownership, sense of belonging in the communities.


Now that we are into another planting season, are there any plan for rice and cassava increase in production?

For those of them that have enjoyed the grant for two years, they are going to be wind off and that’s why we are interfacing with the state government. The state government is coming also to be off-takers; that is assuring the farmers, particularly for rice, that no matter what they produce, it will be off-taken in the state. So, that alone is a kind of encouragement to farmers to go ahead that government is ready to off-take with respect to rice.

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