To improve the livelihood of smallholder farmers, the International Fund for Agriculture Development -Value Chain Development Programme (IFAD-VCDP) has distributed tricycles to some farmers, processors and marketers in Kogi State.
The Kogi State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Timothy Ojoma, flagged off the distribution at FGN/IFAD-VCDP Office in Lokoja on Wednesday.
The commissioner praised IFAD-VCDP for the gesture, saying that the tricycles would be appropriate to convey farm produce to markets.
Ojoma advised the beneficiaries not to sell the tricycles but to use and maintain them, so it would achieve the intended purpose.
“Handle the tricycles with care by taking ownership of them for your own benefit, that of your family members and that of the state at large,” he said.
However, Ojoma commended the organization for partnering with the state government in empowering farmers, and gave assurance of government’s continued support for the programme.
He praised Kogi Gov. Yahaya Bello for identifying with the programme and other agricultural intervention programmes to improve the wellbeing of the residents.
Before now, the Coordinator of IFAD-VCDP in Kogi, Dr Stella Adejoh, said that the beneficiaries cut across the five local government areas where VCDP was operating at the moment.
She listed the local government area as Lokoja, Ajaokuta, Ibaji, Olamaboro and Kabba/Bunu, adding that a total of 15 tricycles had been distributed.
She said that the tricycles were not totally free, noting that the beneficiaries paid 30 per cent of the total cost, while the IFAD-VCDP paid the remaining 70 per cent.
Adejoh said that the essence of paying the 30 per cent was to make the beneficiaries to show seriousness, commitment and ownership of the tricycles.
“Today, we are distributing tricycles to smallholder farmers, processors and marketers to convey their farm produce and processed products to markets for sale,” she said.
Adejoh said that the gesture was part of IFAD-VCDP interventions to help smallholder farmers, processors and marketers in Kogi to boost food production.
She urged the beneficiaries to utilize the tricycles to improve their livelihoods and the economy of the state, adding that they would be properly monitored.
The coordinator thanked the state governor for giving the programme the necessary support.
Some of the beneficiaries, Mrs Zainab Musa from Lokoja, Celestine Ejuwe from Ibaji and Mr Lari Sule from Ajaokuta, thanked the organisation and Kogi Government for the gesture.
Musa, a widow with five children, said that the gesture would improve the livelihood and wellbeing of her family.
“My husband is late; this gesture will enable me to feed my five children and train them in school,” she said.