Abia State FADAMA NG- CARES Project team led by Pastor Ibe Johnson has organized a One -Day Community Sensitization exercise on Nigerian Covid-19 Action Recovery Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) for Ohafia farmers with a call on farmers to embrace the programme and utilize the opportunities that come with it.
Addressing the crowd of farmers at Ohafia Local government Secretariat ,the Project Coordinator ,Abia state FADAMA NG-CARES, Pastor Ibe Johnson described the NG-CARES programme as an emergency operation designed to support a budgeted programme of expenditures and interventions at the State level – targeting existing and newly emerging vulnerable and poor households , agricultural value chains , and micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs ) affected by the economic crisis.
According to him, ” FADAMA is given the mandate to implement the current NG-CARES project because of the great milestone it achieved .These milestones are not unconnected with the unequalled and unrivaled commitment and contributions of all stakeholders,vis a vis State government, local government Authority, facilitators and local government Desk officers not to mention FADAMA PIUs.
“NG-CARES programme is designed to restore the livelihoods of the poor and vulnerable; maintaining food security, and facilitating the recovery of MSEs are some of the key objectives set out in this Government’s Economic security plan.
He disclosed that ,Abia FADAMA NG- CARES programme aims to mitigate the impacts of covid-19 pandemic on food security of the poor and vulnerable household and facilitate the safe functioning of food supply chains.
He pointed out that the programme would run from 2021 to 2023 , revealing that it has four disbursement link indicators which include , Agricultural input and services , Labour Intensive Agricultural infrastructure , Agricultural assets for production and mitigating food loss and Upgrading wet market to function safely.
He maintained that the programme is targeted at poor farmers with 0.1-1 Ha for crop production , such as rice , cassava,maize , among others, Livestock farmers and fish farmers with small farm holdings , like poultry, piggery and fisheries, widows and widowers with large dependents and no source or meager source of income, persons living with disabilities with no source of livelihood, Youth with no source of livelihood and willing to engage in agricultural enterprise, upstream and downstream processor , poor and vulnerable members of other economic interest groups in the value chains affected by COVID-19.
He underscored that the main approach of the programme is community driven development, where farmers and the communities are mobilized to identify and operationalize their development priorities through participatory approaches that are well understood by the Beneficiaries.
He said , ” In each community ,we are going to select about 40 farmers and they now form Farmers Community Association (FCA), which will be made up of different farmers , rice farmers , cassava , maize , poultry farmers, capacity building will be provided for these groups and eventually palliatives, which will be in form provision of farm inputs such as fertilizers and seedlings to assist the farmers, processing centers in the for garri and rice mill, bore holes, road project that leads to farms ,where these things will make most impact,
In his response, the Chairman of Ohafia Local government ,Dr Okoroafor Ukiwe said they are ready to partner with FADAMA to ensure the success of the NG-CARES programme in Ohafia.
The Chairman who was represented by the executive deputy chairman ,Hon.Samuel Uduma Kalu described Ohafia as the most peaceful local government with hardworking and committed farmers.
He described the programme as a very good step from the federal government and the world Bank and thanked the State Governor Dr Okezie Victor Ikpeazu for attracting the project to the State,adding that the project will change the lives of the vulnerable and the poor affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and give them hope.
He urged that the programme should not be politicized and should not be for stakeholders,but for the Ohafia farmers, expressing optimism that if the programme is properly done ,will benefit the entire Ohafia farmers.