Nigeria and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have agreed to deepen collaboration to transform Nigeria’s food systems through the accelerated Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP).
They made the commitment at the 10th Joint Supervision Mission Inception workshop of VCDP on Tuesday in Abuja.
Ms Dede Ekoue, Country Director, IFAD Nigeria said VCDP had made remarkable progress in enhancing the productive capacities of poor rural people in nine states where it operated in a sustainable and resilient manner.
She identified the states as Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Niger, Ogun, Taraba, Enugu, Kogi and Nasarawa.
Ekoue said it had increased and improved farmers engagement in markets and enabled rural people to better manage risks and strengthen environmental sustainability and climate resilience of their economic activities.
She said the mission would make recommendations to accelerate results and upscale the progress of VCDP, to support the implementation of Nigeria Food Systems Transformation Pathways, and the Presidential emergency declaration on Nigeria’s food security.
The country director said VCDP was highly featured during the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) in Rome, Italy.
She said, “the supervision mission will look at how to scale up further best practices and leverage lessons learnt during the UNFSS to enhance the impact of the VCDP on food system.
“The joint mission objectives are to assess the implementation progress and achievement of outputs by component and outcome indicators as per the log frame.
“Assess the status of implementation of the two VCDP Additional Financing and track the status of implementations of the recommendations of 2022 Mid Term Review.
“To identify implementation bottlenecks and challenges in the implementation of the original and additional financing and provide solutions to resolving them and to discuss and agree on a set of actions to be implemented in the short-term.”
The IFAD country director said that the VCDP project focused on rice and cassava production, and had improved livelihoods of 135,000 smallholder farmers along value chains in the nine states.
Mr Bukar Musa of Projects Coordinating Unit, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, said Nigeria and IFAD want to ensure that VCDP, one of the major agricultural programme in the country, scale-up its results for greater impact on smallholder farmers.
Musa said that the objective of the mission was also to identify challenges, solutions and action plan for scaling up the results in line with the project’s objectives and national agricultural policies.
Earlier, Dr Fatima Aliyu, VCDP National Coordinator said the overall goal of the mission was to strengthen the VCDP to be more effective and efficient in delivery of its objectives.
According to her, the objective of the programme is enhancing food security and livelihood of poor rural farmers in the rice and cassava value chain.
“The supervision mission is apt as it is coming at a very critical time due to the challenges we are having in the country, this is especially with regard to food security, food inflation which are not particular to Nigeria but globally.
“We hope that at the end of the mission we will have good idea on how to improve productivity of our smallholder farmers in order to produce for their families and the nation at large,” the national coordinator said.(NAN)