Assisting Small Scale Farming Via Fadama Programme

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Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh (left), presenting the partnership agreement to the Chief Executive Officer of Hello Tractor, Mr Jehiel Oliver, at the launch of agricultural partnerships between United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and two local agribusiness firms, Babban Gona and Hello Tractors in Abuja on Monday.

The National Fadama
Development Project, dry season farming, is a World Bank assisted project that covers the 36 states in the country and the Federal Capital Territory.
The project is aimed at sustaining income of rural land and water resources users such as subsistent farmers, the rural poor, pastoralists, fisher folks, processors, hunters, gatherers and other economic interest groups in the agricultural value chain.
Fadama III , the current stage of the programme, is to scale up the impacts and the development effectiveness of a performing project by aligning it more closely with the new Agricultural Transformation Agenda of the country.
The programme is capable of supporting clusters of farmers in selected states with comparative advantage and high potential to increase production and productivity of cassava, rice, sorghum and horticulture value chains. It would also link them to better organised markets within the selected states and Staple Crop Processing Zones.
To ensure this objective, the World Bank Team Leader, Dr Adetunji Oredipe, recently visited the Fadama cluster states of Lagos, Anambra, Enugu State and Ebonyi that are executing the project.
Other states executing the projects are Kogi, Kano and Niger.
He observed that Fadama project, being sponsored by World Bank and Federal Government, was designed to provide support to rural farmers across the value chains of cassava, rice, sorghum and horticulture. He said that the World Bank would provide N120 million while the state government was expected to pay the balance of N30 million as its counterpart fund to develop the project.
During the visit, Gov. Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos said that the Fadama intervention programme had positively impacted on the life of people in the state. According to him, the project has been boosting the state efforts to ensure food security and eradicate poverty through agricultural sector.
“Lagos State has been selected for rice production under the current project because of the success stories of the Fadama parent projects in the state.
“The state has a huge market, population and also the states of South-West rely mainly on the Lagos market for the sales and purchase of agricultural produce.
“It is, therefore, a commendable foresight for the World Bank and the Federal Government to have picked Lagos State for this special support”, the governor stated.
Similarly, the Anambra Government has pledged more support for the programme to reduce the poverty level and increase food productivity in the state.
Gov. Willie Obiano of the state said that the focus of the administration was to support agriculture and partner with any institution to help farmers.The governor assured the delegation of good governance, transparency in funds disbursements and projects implementation.
“I want to assure you that whatever aid we get, we will use the grants for infrastructure, roads construction and storage facilities for rural farmers to boost productivity.
“We bought 100 tractors to help our farmers including Fadama users for land clearing which is most difficult in farming system’’, he said.
Obiano added that the state had 24 companies that were generating 4.3 billion dollars investment and nine of the companies were agro based.
According to him, the state had just inaugurated the rainy season farming project in June in which N250 million was budgeted for good seedlings among others inputs.
Sharing similar sentiments, the Ebonyi Government described Fadama project as unique, saying the intervention had helped in solving some of the multiple challenges faced by rice producers in the state.
Gov. David Umahi, represented by the state Deputy Gov. Kelechi Igwe, said that the government had declared a state of emergency in the agricultural sector, especially in rice production on assumption of office in May 2015.
“This has fortunately made the state a safe haven for serious investors in rice production and other agricultural ventures from within and outside the country.
“This is because rice production has become a mainstay of agricultural production and a leading staple food in the country,’’ he said.
The governor restated his government’s resolve to enable the state to produce between 10 per cent and 15 per cent of total rice production in the country.
He said that the target motivated the state to adopt mechanised farming system instead of the traditional system of cultivation.
Irrespective of this, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources in Ebonyi, Mr Uchenna Orji, appealed to the World Bank to extend the Fadama initiative to all the 13 Local government areas of the state.
“Currently, Fadama is being practised in seven local government areas and it is doing wonderfully well because farmers have benefited from it.
“We want the World Bank to expand the initiative to the remaining local government areas so that by 2017, we should be talking about 10,000 hectares to 10,000 farmers.
“ The government would support massive production, processing and marketing of rice to attract youths into farming,’’ Orji said.
Corroborating the commissioner, beneficiaries of Fadama III Additional Financing projects in Enugu State commended Fadama for providing them with farm inputs.
The State Coordinator of the project, Mr Ikechukwu Ogboke, made the commendation while presenting the Implementation Mission Report to the World Bank Task Team, saying that it had helped farmers to increased their yield and productivity in rice production.
He observed that before the intervention of Fadama programme in 2014, farmers saw agriculture as a business for the poor and uneducated, but changed their mindset through Fadama projects.
“Fadama project is currently ongoing in six local government areas in the state and the programme is speaking volume with great impact in the lives of farmers and citizens.
“I have interacted with farmers who are the direct beneficiaries of the project in different occasions and they have expressed their happiness for the success recorded so far in rice production.
“They struggled to make a living from farming because they were producing manually which has affected the quantity of what they produced annually.
“But with the intervention of Fadama, things have changed for them and the impact of the numerous projects executed so far are glaring,’’ he said.
Ogboki disclosed that Fadama was planning to support 3,000 rice farmers with more than 250 developed business plans in 2016 production cycle.
“The project is going to provide good rural road network and irrigation system at six rice producing communities in the state to ease their transportation problem.
“The project, among other things, is geared towards uplifting the standard of living of rice farmers in the state,’’ he noted.
He, therefore, urged other potential rice farmers across the country to hasten up and join Fadama programme, observing that the revised losing date for both  Fadama project and the additional financing is December 31, 2017.
The Fadama project was initiated in 2014 by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan to boost rural especially small-scale agriculuture in the country.
Ogunyemi writes for  News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

 

Kudirat Ogunyemi