Dry season farmers in Mutun Biyu, Gassol Local Government Area of Taraba have called on government to assist farmers in the area with water to boost production.
Mr Danjuma Buba, leader of the Bembel Farmers Group, made the call on Monday in an interview with the News agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Mutun Biyu.
The group of farmers, who are beneficiaries of Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP), said their number grew from six to 70 after joining the programme.
“I produce cassava and rice just like most members of my group; I heard about VCDP through the media so I joined with my group, we were six when we started but we are 70 now.
“This growth in number has rendered our local stream, which is our major source of water, incapable of supplying enough water to sustain our farms of over 40 hectares.
“We want government and IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) to assist us to dig tubes so we can have permanent water supply to irrigate our farms,’’ Buba said.
He said with the improved seedlings made available to them by IFAD, they are expecting harvest of about 160 bags of rice from every two hectares cultivated.
Buba, however, said their hopes had come under serious threat as access to water had become a huge challenge which they cannot surmount on their own.
Meanwhile, Mr Tank Bako, Chairman, Abuchidon Multi Purpose Cooperative Society, based in Wukkari, called for government’s support to enable the group to expand their farms.
According to him, members of the group had acquired new techniques for dry season rice production from VCDP training but would need government assistance to expand.
He expressed gratitude to VCDP for developing the capacity of the group, stressing “I am very grateful and happy to have learnt so much from the workshop.’’
NAN reports that VCDP is a Federal Government and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) supported programme.
It is being implemented in six states which are Benue, Taraba, Niger, Ebonyi, Anambra and Ogun; the programme seeks to address all the challenges associated with the cassava and rice value chains.
NAN recalls that the programme is designed to make beneficiaries contribute 50 per cent of the total cost of land clearing and farm input needed while the government and IFAD provide the other 50 per cent.
For farm equipment, the beneficiary is expected to contribute 30 per cent and the programme will provide 70 per cent of the total cost (NAN)