By Bankole Taiwo, Abeokuta.
Beneficiaries of Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) for rice and cassava in Ogun state, an agricultural initiative sponsored by the tripartite of International Fund for Agricultural Development, (IFAD) Federal and Ogun state government have lauded the agricultural intervention saying it has brought great prosperity to the rural dwellers.
Beneficiaries of this agricultural programme disclosed this when the monitoring team led by the state Coordinator, Mr Samuel Adeogun visited Baara community in Obafemi/Owode local government where a modern Garri processing factory facilitated under the programme was built.
Pastor Owolabi Olusegun, Apex Chairman for Cassava Clusters in the state while speaking at the programme said the VCDP agric programme has really liberated the rural farmers from the misfortune of poor yields, poor income and the ultimate vicious cycle of poverty among the rural farmers.
Pastor Owolabi said the VCDP agric programme has really empowered rural farmers, exposed them to modern way of farming boosting their capacities for productivity such that an hectare of cassava that usually give the farmers 8 metric tonnes now produce as much as 30 tonnes.
He said “what this translates to is more money in our pockets, we are now more organise to market our garri. I can tell you that many people who own new buildings in this community are VCDP members. We are grateful to the government and IFAD for this programme and we are assuring them that we will also at our end do all that are expected of us to ensure more success story for the story”.
Pastor Owolabi said the government should however assist them to register their Garri with NAFDAC as this would not only help to standardized the product but also help to boost sales and acceptability.
Mrs Saidat Shodiya, another beneficiary said the agric programme has really turn things around for good for women involved in cassava processing as the hitherto tedious traditional way of producing Garri with little income is now made easy and attractive with more income.
Mrs Shodiya said “the impact of this programme on us and our family is huge. We now make money from our cassava processing business, we don’t have problem paying our children’s school fees anymore. We can also eat good food; the environment where we are processing our Garri is now very neat”.
“The job is now very easy with the modern Garri processing factory built for us by VCDP, more women are now gainfully employed. This agric programme has really been a blessing to us and we will remain eternally grateful to IFAD as well as the state and federal government for this well thought out plan”.
The beneficiaries however listed farmers/herders clash, bad roads, access to land among others as some of the challenges hampering their optimal performance
Speaking with our Correspondent, Mr Samuel Adeogun, State Project Coordinator said the testimonies of the beneficiaries just confirmed the success of the programme
Mr Adeogun said the programme was to principally increase the capacity of household rural farmers with a view to assist them to be more productive in cassava and rice value chain and ultimately to improve their income while also boosting food security.
He said “ VCDP agric programme started about 5 years ago and over 10,000 farmers across five local governments in the state must have benefited from the programme with three more local governments being added under the expansion programme of the project”.
Mr Adeogun said the essence of the monitoring exercise was to interface with the beneficiaries of the agricultural programme, get updates on their challenges and most importantly ensure they are not losing sight of the essence of the over N2bn naira agricultural intervention programme.