The Federal Government and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) on Saturday commenced a two-day pre-season step down training for farmers in Minna, Niger state.
Dr Chyka Unamma, Agriculture Production Advisor (APA), IFAD-VCDP, Nigeria, made this known at the opening of the two day training in Minna.
He said the training which attracted lead farmers from VCDP staff and three farmers from each of the eight participating local government areas is to improve the capacity of farmers, ensure food security and increase the yields of farmers in the state.
The local government areas involved are Bida, Borgu, Edati, Katcha, Kontagora, Mokwa, Shiroro and Wushishi, out of the 25 local government areas in the state.
“We are conducting pre-season training for our Local Government field staff, known as Training of the Trainers (TOT).
“The training will enable our VCDP farmers in Niger state to review our activities for last year and also expose us to Good Agronomic Practices (GAP) for the 2022 season,” he said.
Unamma said that the training based on modern techniques in the production, processing and marketing of rice and cassava is geared towards supporting farmers in agricultural enterprises.
“The ongoing training will strengthen participants with strong agric enterprises so that they can take in new modern farming methods to enable them to support themselves and have sustainable livelihood.”
Earlier, Dr Mathew Ahmed the State Programme Coordinator (SPC) said that the measure was to acquaint the VCDP farmers and staff on the modern method in rice and cassava production, processing and marketing.
He said the training has become imperartive as part of IFAD-VCDP, mandate to increase yields of all participating farmers and in line with the Federal Government’s vision for national food security.
Ahmed said that three farmers were invited for the training from each of the eight participating local government areas in the state to properly address the dynamics of achieving food security in the country.
He also said that three extension staff of the VCDP from each of the eight participating local government areas, who would train 50 farmers on GAP in the next two weeks were on the training.
“The extension staff and participating farmers will help to step down the training in various groups and clusters.
The State Programme Coordinator said that the farmers are being trained on GAP such as land preparation, varieties of seeds to plant, application of inputs, weed control and water control among others.
Hajiya Habila Garafini, one of the extension staff, said the training increased their knowledge on GAP and how to extend same to the VCDP farmers.
Also Miss Anastasia Musa, a trainee and member of the Alfa Cassava Producing Cooperative Society in Bida local government area, said that they were exposed to three varieties of cassava such as no hunger, headmaster and security.
She described the training as a refresher course even as she assured to further step it down to their members at the end of the training.
Musa who commended the IFAD-VCDP for the gesture appealed for more of such collaboration with the federal and state governments toward turning agriculture into agri-business which would attract more youth.
Mr Thomas Yisa, the state VCDP, Knowledge Management and Communication Officer (KMC) said that there are 33,000 VCDP farmers in the state.
VCDP is being implemented in eight local government areas of Bida, Borgu, Edati, Katcha, Kontagora, Mokwa, Shiroro and Wushishi in the state.
The VCDP also has out-reach in seven local government areas of Paikoro, Gbako, Lapai, Rafi, Lavun, Magama and Munya out of the 25 local government areas in the state.