It is, among other responsibilities, supposed to implement the government’s policy on National Programme for Food Security (NPFS) which, as it were, it has done to the satisfaction of stakeholders. The pilot phase of the programme was implemented in three sites: Ofu LGA (Agbaduma) Adavi LGA (Osara) and Ijumu LGA (Aiyetoro Gbede) between 2002-2006. With the successful implementation of the programme in the three pilot sites, approval was given for the expansion phase of the programme covering six additional sites in six Local Government Areas.
The main objectives of the national programme of food security are to improve national food security and reduce poverty by boosting food production and sustaining food security through credit and technical support to farmers; to improve household food security and income to farmers through increase in farm productivity; enhance food security of consumers through improved availability of and access to variety of foods and establish an efficient and viable marketing supplies; foster participation on the development of the community; enhance access to support services as extension, credit, nutrition etc.
The ADP under the leadership of Dr. Ameh Onoja has effectively piloted the affairs of the Kogi State agricultural project by harnessing the rich agricultural potentials and reaching out to farmers to ensure effective food production.
The implementation of ADP programmes cut across the 21 LGAs with each programme targeting a specific LGA where it has comparative advantage. For a group to participate from the selected LGA, the following criteria are considered.
Registration as a farmer co-operative group (micro groups) with State Min. of Co-operative; functional account with a recognized bank closest to site; raising 10% of the cost of the chosen enterprise and same paid into their micro group account and provide evidence to the apex exco and ADP for confirmation; introduction of the Zonal manager as co-signatory to the apex group account in order to forestall withdrawals that may not be for the purpose the account is intended; apex executive sets up disbursement and recovery committees and funds disbursed are recovered at the end of production season into the apex account for recycling.
For the year 2010, a total sum of about N50m was said to have been disbursed for the production of arable crops, livestock, and agro-processing. Also, livestock farmers were supported to implement poultry and small ruminants (goat & sheep) enterprises. Recoveries of the loans due into the apex account to date averages 60% across the sites. After the recent stakeholders meeting on 15th September, 2010 additional funds have been approved for disbursement for dry season farming, livestock, agro-processing and fisheries enterprises.
In addition to the 1000ha cropped, a total of additional 100ha of virgin land was cleared for mechanized farming.
The success recorded under the programme is due to effective supervision by the staff of the Agricultural Development project / Min. of Agric both at the headquarters and in the zones and the officers of the National Programme for food Security (NPFS).
The ADP has in place a Site Manager and Extension Agents for close supervision and monitoring of the farmers activities at the selected sites / LGAs fully supported by the various components. To ensure close collaboration with participating LGAs Heads of Agric/Food Security Coordinators to work with their own team of Extension Agents to ensure that farmers benefit maximally from the programme to boost their yields and brief the respective Local Government authorities.
The Federal Government launched this programme in the year 2010 with three (3) production/demonstration sites in each of the 36 states and one site for the FCT. This was expanded to six additional sites per state in 2007, following the successful implementation of the first phase.
The National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) of Fed. Ministry of Agric & Rural Development, through the National Programme for Agric and Food Security and the Agricultural Development Projects (ADP) in the state provide support for programme implementation at the site through regular monitoring and supervision in addition to technical support.
The programme is funded by the federal, state, local governments and the beneficiary communities in the ratio of 47%, 26%, 19% and 8% respectively.
The state government under the leadership of Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, the governor of Kogi State, has continued to support the programme through regular release of its counterpart contributions to the programme. He graciously approved deduction at source which has enabled the programme to make success. The state government has shown strong commitment towards the overall success of the programme through release of fertilizer at subsidized rate.
Evaluation of the implementation of the National programme on food security in Kogi State by independent analysts from the various sites in the communities have shown that the programme has impacted positively on their farm yields and income thereby increasing their living standard.
John wrote from Adankolo, Lokoja, Kogi State
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