An agro project team from the Value Chain Development Programme, (VCDP), a sister project of the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises, Niger Delta, (LIFE-ND) on Wednesday began a 3-day knowledge sharing and learning engagement session with the Abia state coordinating team of the IFAD project.
The 3-day visit started from July 27, and ended on July 29, 2022.
According to Uchenna Rowland Onyeizu, Ph.D, the State Project Coordinator (SPC) of the project in Abia State while addressing newsmen on the essence of the visit, he said it was a learning route organized by VCDP to learn and understudy each other’s strategy in operations and sharing of experiences.
Dr. Onyeizu added that the whole essence is to see what Abia LIFE-ND is doing and share in successes while Abia LIFE-ND team are to also learn and share in the successes of VCDP.
“They want to see how we have successfully mainstreamed some of the project mainstreaming areas that include Nutrition, Environment and Climate Change, Gender and as well our incubation model. It is a little bit difficult to mainstream these areas that are not in our core mandate but they are very important for the sustainability of our project, especially on exist.” Dr. Onyeizu said.
Candidreporters.com gathered that the team focused on areas of nutrition mainstreaming, incubation model, gender mainstreaming activities and youth transformation.
Responding to the question on why the choice of Abia for the visitors, Dr. Onyeizu said the choice of Abia may be as a result of the level of outputs from Abia LIFE-ND coordinating office in terms of implication to meet targets and significant successes but the whole essence is to learn from each other for better performance.
A hand full of information on the desk of candidreporters.com on the achievement of Dr. Onyeizu and his team has it that Abia LIFE-ND project had empowered 1000 youths and 10 physically challenged persons in different agro commodities such as cassava production, rice production & processing, poultry production and oil palm processing and marketing. The project is said to have a target of 4,250 beneficiaries in Abia state.
Mrs. Vera Onyeaka-Onyeilo, the Knowledge Management and Communication Adviser during her speech at the commencement of the interactive section of the visit said that VCDP was designed to improve the life of the rural poor through processing of food crops like cassava and rice to enhance food security and sustainable income.
Mr. Musa Dalang, the VCDP Rural Institution, Gender and Youth Mainstreaming Adviser, Value Chain Development Program, while speaking to newsmen said the purpose of the visit is
In his words; “As a project we like to know what our colleagues are doing in terms of what they have that we can learn from and they too can learn from us. It’s an opportunity for us to share knowledge, experiences both successes and challenges that they encounter. In this type of encounter, your other colleagues may have solution to your own problems, so this kind of meeting is very, very important.”
Mr Dalang also added that both LIFE-ND and VCDP has common goals, they are both project of IFAD centered on improving the livelihood of her beneficiaries aimed at reducing poverty and ensuring food security.
As part of the schedule for the knowledge sharing the team visited some incubation centres to see the incubators and incubatees and find out how they are faring with the empowerment made available by Abia LIFE-ND.
A visit to a pro-homestead garden managed by Abia LIFE-ND beneficiary, Mrs. Virginia Benson, at Umuaka, Ukwa West LGA, where the guest team witnessed a new breed of poultry birds, known as noiler. They were also greeted with fresh served taste of the orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, established to contain vitamin A, which boost human sight.
The visiting team also visited Munis Farm, Ubakala, in Umuahia South LGA, where they saw varieties of different mainstreaming fruits and vegetables.
Speaking about the experience gathered from the field, Altine James, the Rural Institution Mainstreaming Officer, (Taraba state) said joining the team to Abia state was very enlightening and encouraging to see others doing what they are already doing while noting that the successes seen on ground made the experience worth while.
“From what we have seen and the interaction we have had with them, we can actually say a lot is been done and a lot in the rural areas has been impacted. I am happy I came, I am happy I saw and am happy I have learnt a lot. As I go back to my state, I will replicate what I have seen here.” Altine James said.
The Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) like the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises, Niger Delta, (LIFE-ND) is a programme of the Government of Nigeria funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The programme aims to improve incomes and food security of poor rural households engaged in production, processing and marketing of rice and cassava on a sustainable basis. VCDP was originally implemented in six states of Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Ogun, Niger and Taraba. As a result of the programme success, VCDP received additional finance for expansion into three states of Kogi, Nasarawa and Enugu making a total of 9 participating states.