Benue governor relishes IFAD partnership, calls for greater collaboration

Nigerian Concord Newspaper

Benue State governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom has extolled the working partnership between his state and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and its impact on the socio-economic development of his people, and called for greater collaboration with the agency to enable the state attain greater development height.

He spoke today at the Congress Hall, Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, venue of the 2nd National Commodity Alliance Forum (NCAF), convened to find ways of achieving the objective if sustainably enhancing the incomes and food security of rural poor households engaged in the production, processing and marketing of cassava.

Governor Ortom spoke through his deputy, Engr. Benson Abounu.

He acknowledged the support and intervention of IFAD in several sectors of the state economy particularly infrastructural development and construction of rural roads, provision of fertilizer, herbicides and other agricultural inputs, which he said has greatly impacted on agricultural production in the state.

The governor disclosed that the state’s partnership with the agency has led to a significant boost in rice production in the state. He therefore canvassed for the same partnership in cassava value chain production.

While making a case for increased cassava production, he said it is time for Nigeria to move away from seeing cassava only as a means of providing garri and akpu to people, adding that cassava is a wonder crop, which has huge industrial uses, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry.

Governor Ortom was honoured for the state’s unquantifiable contributions to the success story of the Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and IFAD

Benue is one of the 9 benefiting states of the Value Chain Development Programme, a 6-year project of the Nigeria government, funded by IFAD, and aimed at improving incomes and food security of poor rural households engaged in the production, processing and marketing of cassava and rice on a sustainable basis.

There were goodwill messages from the First Lady, Hajia Aisha Buhari, minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono, and the governors of Kogi, Taraba, and Ogun states.