BY MUSA IDRIS UMAR, FEBRUARY 18, 2022 | 11:14 AM
Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi on Thursday, inaugurated Gaskiya Rice Processing Centre constructed by Kogi Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) at Kungbani, Lokoja Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.
The project, under the FGN/IFAD assisted projects, was inaugurated alongside that of the daughter of President Muhammadu Buharim Hajia Fatima Buhari, the Marketing Enterprise Development Advisor (MEDA) for FGN/IFAD-VCDP.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that market stalls, rice drying slab and solar-powered borehole were also inaugurated at the centre.
The inauguration was part of the activities of a three-day Technical Implementation Support visit by Hajia Buhari to VDCP projects in Kogi.
Buhari had on Wednesday visited a rice processing centre in ASCO Camp, Ajaokuta LGA of Kogi.
Bello commended the Federal Government on its support in empowering the rural farmers and adding value to their products.
The governor, represented by his deputy, Dr Edward Onoja, reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to continue investing in agriculture for economic diversification.
He said that four different agricultural programmes were running concurrently in the state.
He enjoined the beneficiaries to take ownership of the rice processing centre and ensure proper maintenance for their own benefit.
Responding, Fatima Buhari expressed satisfaction with the state government’s support to VCDP projects in the state, especially the counterpart funding.
”This is the first time in all the states we have our projects, that VCDP is receiving two years counterpart funding.
”We thank Kogi Government for the gesture and Federal Government for the initiative,” she said.
The Commissioner for Finance, Budget and Planning, Mr Asiwaju Idris, said Kogi was among the first states to sign the MoU for the VCDP project in 2017 with instant payment of its counterpart funding.
He said that the governor had also given approval for payment of counterparts fund for 2022 and 2023.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr David Apeh said the VCDP project had impacted immensely on the lives of the rural farmers.
Earlier, the State Coordinator, IFAD-VCDP, Dr Stella Adejoh, said Buhari’s visit would further strengthen the farmers’ trust in the programme and enhance their commitment.
She said the project would restore the farmers hope if sustained, adding that they had carried out a lot of capacity building along the value chain.
Two farmers, Halima Gimba, a processor and Secretary of Kaskiya Cluster and Hajia Lari Sule, a marketer, on behalf of the beneficiaries, said they had benefitted immensely from the project.
They said VCDP had taught them the best modern way of rice processing, leadership and managerial skills, and online marketing, among others.
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