MR Boluwade Ogunbodede, Acting Chairman, Federated FADAMA Community Association (FFCA), Ondo State, says that thousands of farmers have benefited from the FADAMA project in the state.
Ogunbodede, who said this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Friday, noted that the development had led to a significant increase in rice and cassava production.
He said that the grants were given to farmers in the last four years, adding that this had provoked an increase in the farmers’ agricultural production in all the 18 local government areas of the state.
He said that the production of rice had increased from 1.5 tonnes per hectare to 3.5 tonnes per hectare, while that of cassava had also increased from 12 to 18 tonnes per hectare.
Ogunbodede said that the achievement would not have been possible without the continuous support of the World Bank via the different intervention schemes of the FADAMA project in the state.
“This achievement has encouraged youths to start thinking of taking agriculture as a business in order to improve productivity and better their livelihood.
‘‘It may interest you to know that a lot of Nigerians are now consuming local rice, which our farmers are producing in large quantities.
“This has increased the standard of living of our farmers and created jobs for youths,’’ he said.
Ogunbodede commended the World Bank and FADAMA project for their landmark achievements across the state.
He, however, noted that the challenges facing the association included lack of access to credit facilities and non-availability of tractors that would enable farmers to till the land for crop growing.
He said that the efforts of the association to secure soft loans for its members to boost farming activities had not been easy to accomplish.
“We do not have enough tractors to achieve our production goals in the state.
“We have only 13 tractors in the state and most of them are in bad shape. It will take a lot of resources to put them into use again,’’ he added.
Also speaking, Mr Aminu Ringim, Jigawa Coordinator, FADAMA III project, said that the state cultivated about 300 hectares of rice farms during the last dry season farming.
He said that the FADAMA project was planning to redouble its rice production capacity in the state during the wet season farming.
“We just started FADAMA project in the state two years ago; we took off late but we have recorded a lot of success.
“We cultivated about 300 hectares of rice farms in the dry season farming.
‘‘For the rainy season, we are preparing to double our production; I can say confidently that over 5,000 farmers have benefited from the FADAMA programme in the state.
‘‘Women and youth agro-processors have benefited too; they were given rice milling machines, threshers, tricycles and other machines that would enhance their production,’’ Ringim said.