The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) says Taraba has the best conditions for rice and cassava production in the country.
Dr Ameh Onoja, the National Programme Coordinator, Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) of IFAD said this in Jalingo at the 5th Supervision Mission for rice, cassava farmers as well as off-takers (marketers) and processors.
Onoja said that dry season rice farming in Karim Lamido Local Government Area alone was overwhelming, adding that VCDP was considering ways of supporting more rice farmers in the area.
“Taraba should step up in the area of standardisation through weights and measures in rice paddy and milling so that rice produced and packaged in the state can be accepted internationally,” he said.
Onoja commended Gov. Darius Ishaku of Taraba and other stakeholders for their tremendous support for the programme.
He said the 2017 supervision mission, which also entailed a midterm review of the programme, would enable the team to assess the successes so far recorded and ascertain room for improvement.
Speaking, the Team Leader for IFAD, Dr Sam Eremie, said that the visit was to ascertain how far the state had gone in particular aspects of the programme.
He commended the state government for the prompt payment of the counterpart fund for the programme in 2015 and 2016.
He appealed to the government to promptly pay the fund for 2017 so as to enable the programme to cover more farmers in the state this year.
Mr Musa Irimiya, the State Programme Coordinator (SPC), noted that the programme had assisted smallholder farmers and processors in the state to improve on their standard of living.
He said that the feat was achieved through regular training on best agronomic practices, input support and linkage to the market.
He said the programme had so far supported over 5,000 farmers with inputs through its matching grant system.
He said that through the system, the programme provided half of the needed inputs while the farmer provided the other half.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr David Kassa, thanked the Federal Government for the inclusion of Taraba as one of the six pilot states selected for the programme.
He commended VCDP for its infrastructural development projects and training in best agronomic best practices in all the participating local governments in the state.
He said government was doing its best to develop the agricultural sector of the state.
“We are committed to promoting agriculture and we have procured fertilisers, cassava stems and other inputs for farmers. I want to announce to you that the State Executive Council has already approved the 2017 counterpart fund for the programme and the money will soon be released,” Kassa said.
The team is expected to tour farm sites in Gassol and Wukari Local Government Areas.