The cassava and rice production of the value chain of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have contributed over N13 billion to the Benue economy from 2016 to date.
The State Coordinator of IFAD-VCD Mr. Emmanuel Igbaukum made the disclosure at the just concluded One-Day country strategic opportunities programme 2024-2029 held in Makurdi the state capital.
According to him, over 13,000 women and youths were gainfully employed during the period while over 10,000 farmers from the eight IFAD participating local Government areas of Okpokwu, Agatu, Apa, Gwer West, Gwer East, Guma, Logo and Kwande were lifted out of poverty line.
He explained that the meeting was to enable the six IFAD participating states in the North Central zone of the country to take stock of what the programme was able to achieve so far in terms of successes, challenges and to design the next face of the programme.
In their remarks, IFAD State Coordinator for Kogi and his counterpart in Niger states, Stella Adejo and Matthew Ahmed, said though there were security challenges in their states but the programme had achieved some level of successes.
Governor Samuel Ortom who was represented at the event by the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr Kester Kyenge, called for partnership with IFAD Nigeria.
The governor explained that such partnership will be in the area of scaling up IFAD interventions to the state, particularly for improved seeds, modern farm equipment and other incentives that would boost food production.
He lamented the sustained attacks on Benue farmers by herdsmen which has forced millions of people out of their Ancestral homes; saying the country might face a food crisis if Benue farmers known for massive food production continue to live in Internally Displaced Camps.
Governor Ortom noted that his administration was committed to the provision of counterpart contribution for the execution of IFAD VCDP in the state’s economy; expressing the hope that the incoming administration will continue with the funding of the programme.
Some of the participants including Logo Local Government chairman, Mrs Salome Tor and the State chairman, Commodity Alliance Forum, Mr Fidelis Terkende who acknowledged benefits farmers in the areas have derived from the programme, called on the Federal Government to address insecurity to enable more Benue farmers to benefit.