Kogi State Governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello says he would continue to pay counterpart funding for programmes and projects that will enhance the livelihood of the rural dwellers in the State.
Governor Bello stated this on Friday while commissioning Gaskiya Rice Processing Centre constructed by Kogi Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) under the FGN/IFAD assisted projects, at Kungbani, Lokoja Local Government Area of the state.
The commissioning was part of activities for the three-day Technical Implementation Support visit to all VCDP projects in Kogi state by President Muhammadu Buhari’s daughter, Hajia Fatima Buhari.
The Governor who commended the federal government for partnering with the state government in empowering rural farmers to improve their production , promised not to delay payment of counterpart funding to enable farmers in the state benefit from federal government supported agricultural programmes.
Governor Bello who was represented by his deputy, Dr Edward Onoja, reaffirmed the commitment of his administration to continue to invest in agriculture for economic diversification.
While enjoining the beneficiaries to take ownership of the rice processing centre and ensure proper maintenance in order to serve them for long period of time, the Governor disclosed that four different agricultural programmes were going on concurrently in the state.
In her remark, Hajia Fatima Buhari, who is the Marketing Enterprise Development Advisor of FGN/IFAD-VCDP,
said she was highly impressed with what the state government was doing to support the VCDP projects in the state especially the counterparts funding.
According to her ”This is the first time in all the states we have all our projects, that VCDP will be given two years counterpart funding which has never happened before. I also visited another Rice Processing Centre in ASCO Camp in Ajaokuta local government area and I was highly impressed by the performance of VCDP and the beneficiaries of the programme especially women” she said.
Earlier, the Kogi State Coordinator, IFAD-VCDP, Dr Stella Adejoh, noted that the visit of the President’s daughter, would further strengthen the farmers’ trust in the programme thereby enhancing their commitment.
She noted that the VCDP had made great impacts in the lives of farmers in the state by improving their yield and productivity and lifting many out of poverty.
She explained that the VCDP was to ensure food security by teaching rural farmers the best agronomy practices, empower them to come out of poverty and enhance the state’s economy on sustainable basis.
Dr Adejoh appreciated the governor for his unprecedented support for the implementation of the programme, saying the great success would not have been possible without his backing.
The state’s Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr David Apeh, commended the governor for his commitment to the VCDP project, saying it had impacted posively in the lives of the rural farmers in the state.
He enjoined the beneficiaries to take the advantage of the programme to wipe away poverty in their families, assuring that the state government will not relent in giving maximum support for the programme to succeed.
At ASCO Camp Cluster farm, Rabi Abdullahi, the Women Leader of the cluster, thanked the federal and state governments for lifting the rural farmers out of poverty, she stressed that the rural farmers had been empowered on best agronomy practices which has enhanced their yield and productivity in cassava and rice value chain.
On her part, Rebecca Sule, the Youth Leader, said the VCDP had trained them on balanced diet and how to minimize cost in processing their food products for sales with high quality nutrients.
Rebecca Sule an unemployed graduate , said through the programme she was able to acquire knowledge on processing and packaging of food products.
Also speaking, Zuwaira Abubakar, a widow and Gari Processor, said the VCDP had trained them on saving culture and how to make variety of products from gari as well as standard measurement and packaging.
”Before the coming of this programme , my three children were out of school because of lack of fund, but through the VCDP programme my children are now back to school. We thank our President and our Governor for using this VCDP programme to bring us out of poverty,” she said.