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Sunday, June 4, 2023

IFAD engages stakeholders on new strategic policy for agricultural development

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on Friday, April 14, 2023, engaged stakeholders in the agricultural sector to review and design new policy that would guide it in the operations of smallholder farmers in South west for the next five years.

Gilbert Houngbo
Mr. Gilbert Houngbo, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

The programme, tagged “IFAD Nigeria Country Strategic Opportunities Programme (COSOP) 2024-2029 South West Technical Consultations”, was held in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

The programme had in attendance South West stakeholders in agricultural value chain, majorly of them from Ogun and Ondo, which are the benefitting states.

The stakeholders include Farmers, Offtakers, Marketers, Financial institutions, public and private organisations, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), among others.

The regional technical consultations of IFAD Nigeria strategic opportunities programme was organised for stakeholders in the agriculture value chain to review IFAD programmes and projects in the last five years and map out development plan for small holder farmers for another five years with effect from 2024.

Speaking at the event, Dr Oyesola Oyebamiji, the team lead consultant, said COSOP is a roadmap for the implementation of IFAD’s mandate for inclusive and sustainable rural transformation with a focus on small holders and in line with food system approach.

Oyebamiji noted that the meeting was necessary to harness the inputs of various stakeholders for the next projects plan from 2024 to 2029.

According to him, the deliberation and contribution of new strategic policies design must align with both the federal and state government policies for Agricultural Development.

Also speaking, Mr Thomas Yisa, a staff of Country Programme Advisory Team (CPAT), Abuja, noted that the consultation meeting with key players was necessary to incorporate their views and ideas in the next COSOP programmes and projects.

“This meeting is a consultation meeting just to get the views of the key players at the grassroots, the aim is to incorporate their views and needs, the peculiar challenges and opportunities that are available in each political zone in Nigeria into the country’s strategic opportunity programme that IFAD is about to design for next five years

“So the essence of the programme is to review the activities of the past COSOP and identify needs that needed to be incorporated in the new design to scale up result,” he said.

Yisa, while highlighting some of the the achievements of IFAD programmes between 2016 and 2023, said productivity in rice, cassava, groundnut and maize had increased while over five million people comprising women and youth had benefited directly from various IFAD intervention programmes.

In his remarks, the Ogun Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Adeola Odedina, said that the review of IFAD supported programmes and projects was essential to strategically plan for the next projects with the involvement of stakeholders in the agricultural value chain.

Odedina added that the implementation of the programme had impacted positively on the livelihood of smallholder farmers in the state as well as increase agricultural development and also boosted food production in the state

He noted that the IFAD-VCDP programme, aimed at ensuring food security and improving farmers’ livelihood, was in line with the agricultural revolution initiative of the state governor, Dapo Abiodun, to increase food production.

“We are so happy that IFAD chose Ogun State as the meeting point to deliberate on the next step of the project in the next five years.

“It’s an indication that IFAD and the United Nation and all its sponsors are happy with the performance of Ogun in its Agricultural development,” he said.

Odedina, however, urged farmers to make good contributions at the meeting, as well as advised them to always be innovative by adding value to rice and cassava production.

Also speaking, the State Programme Coordinator, Value Chain Development Programme, Mr Samuel Adeogun, explained that COSOP is a platform used by IFAD to design future projects for Nigeria, noting that Value Chain Development Programme is one of the projects that is being implemented during the current COSOP which will be closing by December 2023.

Adeogun pointed out that 17,000 farmers across the eight participating local government areas of Ogun state had benefited from the programme which has led to increase in productivity as well as income of the farmers.

“IFAD-VCDP have been able to enhance the livelihood of over 4O youth and engage them in different capacity building training, with training on best Agricultural practice in Rice and cassava value chains.

“IFAD with the support of the state governor, Dapo Abiodun, has also provided solar power boreholes, constructed mini bridges and processing centres across the eight participating local governments,” Adeogun said.

However, Adeogun noted that there was the need for more inclusion of technology, capacity building on good agricultural and climate resilience practices as well as engagement with big private sector and market operator.

By Joy Akinsanya

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