From Audu Joe, Lokoja
The Kogi State Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP-AF) at the weekend, handed over constructed projects of rice mill facilities worth millions of naira to Gaskiya Cluster rice farmers in Lokoja.
The constructed facilities handed over were: Gaskiya Rice Mill Processing centre with Parboiled Shed and Drying Slab, Solar Borehole and Market Stalls at Kungbani community of Lokoja Local Government Area of Kogi State.
The VCDP-AF is a programme of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) assisted under United Nations (UN).
Speaking during the hand over ceremony, the Kogi State Programme Coordinator of IFAD/VCDP, Mrs Stella Adejoh (PhD), commended the projects’ conctractors for a job well done and for strictly adhering to the proposed specifications for the projects.
Adejoh also appreciated the entire staff and management of Kogi VCDP for their unflinching support and commitments towards the successful realisation of the projects.
The programme coordinator specifically commended His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello, for his good gesture towards the people of Kogi especially at the grassroots.
She explained that the project was a community driven development that should ensure that all the stakeholders at the grassroots were duly carried along in decision making.
She noted that the choice of the projects’ site was taken by the Gaskiya cluster farmers’ themselves, saying the projects’ location was just by the road and would be easily accessible by everyone.
She added: ”So, today we are here to hand over these executed projects to the cluster, so that you can take ownership of your facilities”.
She urged the beneficiary cluster to take adequate care of the projects in terms of maintenance and security, noting that the projects worth millions of naira.
She, therefore urged the beneficiaries to ensure adequate protection and proper maintenance of the projects.
”We are also in the process of providing you with the rice mill processing equipment, so, it is not just the building alone.
”For the equipment, there is what we called the matching grant; you are to provide 30 per cent of the equipment fund while the VCDP will provide 70 per cent”, she said.
She noted that the cluster’s 30 per cent must be on ground before the VCDP would add its 70 per cent before the equipment can be supplied.
Speaking on behalf of the cluster, Alh. Bala Yusuf, Head Gaskiya Rice Mill Processing Cluster, thanked the VCDP and Gov. Yahaya Bello for the gesture.
Yusuf assured that the cluster would do everything they could to ensure that the projects were well secured.
On their part, Hajia Rabiat Gimba, Head of Gaskiya Rice Per-biolers; and Hajia Lari Suleiman, Head of Gaskiya Marketers, both praised the VCDP and Kogi State Government, for remembering rice farmers at the grassroots.
The highlight of the occasion was the presentation of keys of the facilities by the Programme Coordinator, Dr Stella Adejoh, to Mr Bala Yusuf, on behalf of the cluster farmers.