IFAD urges katsina State fund agric projects
September 23, 2012 16:02
Katsina, Sept. 23, 2012 (NAN) The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has urged the Katsina State Government to provide the necessary funding assistance to enhance the implementation of identified projects in benefitting communities.
The IFAD Country Programme Manager, Ms Atsuko Toda, made the call when she led the 16th Supervision Mission team delegation to pay a courtesy visit to the Commissioner for Agriculture, Alhaji Musa Adamu, in Katsina.
The team was in Katsina State to assess the extent of implementation of the Community-Based Agricultural and Rural Development Programme (CBARDP), which is also being implemented in Borno, Jigawa, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara states.
Atsuko told the commissioner that the funding assistance would enable the State Project Office to draw down on IFAD funding of over N1 million dollars.
She underscored the importance of prompt release of the government's financial contribution and reminded him that IFAD would withdraw funding of the programme in March 2013, which is only six months away.
The IFAD official noted that the programme had so far made a positive impact on the livelihoods of its beneficiaries but stressed the need to increase the impact and alleviate poverty among the rural poor, the targets.
She further urged the state government to ensure sustainability of the programme by including other local government areas and communities that were not currently benefitting, just as Kebbi, Zamfara and Sokoto states had done.
She said that by so doing, the poverty reduction level in the communities would be more meaningful.
Responding, the Adamu told the delegation that the state government was committed to agricultural development.
He said that the state government had evolved and integrated agricultural programmes with the establishment of the Songhai Agricultural Centres in the three senatorial zones.
He said that the state government was currently sponsoring no fewer than 100 youths on an 18-month training programme in various aspects of agriculture at the Songhai Centre in Porto Novo, Benin Republic.
These youths, on their return, would constitute the pioneer trainers at the state’s Songhai centres, where they would impart their knowledge on others, he said.
The commissioner assured the delegation that the state government was committed to ensuring the success of the programme through adequate funding.
Meanwhile, Alhaji Kabir Charanchi, State Project Officer of the programme, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in an interview, that inadequate funding constituted a major challenge to project implementation.
Charanchi, however, said that the programme had impacted positively on the beneficiaries by uplifting their living standard.
For instance, he said that under the animal traction project, the programme provided 39 pairs of ox teams, comprising two work bulls, an ox cart and a ridger at a total cost of N200,000.
``This is a great achievement because it has helped them in terms of operational activities, transportation of farm yard manure, transportation of their products as well as increase in the productivity of their farmlands,’’ he said.
He noted that Katsina and Sokoto states were the pilot states of IFAD programmes in Nigeria.
``It was the success recorded in the two that led to the extension and expansion of the programme to cover seven states. A lot has been recorded in terms of achievement and empowerment of youths.
``During the pilot phase 420 boreholes were drilled and they are still working after about 15 years.
``We have intervened in terms of provision of water and health facilities. We have constructed a 36-bed hospital at Kakumi in Bakori local government,’’ the commissioner said.
According to him, the programme has also empowered some women by giving them small ruminants under a revolving loan arrangement while also supporting others to set up business enterprises. (NAN)