Zamfara may lose $1m fund for agric programme

The Zamfara State Government’s unwillingness to release funds for the Community-Based Agricultural and Rural Development Programme, CBARDP, may cause rural communities in the state to lose international donation to the tune of $1 million.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, on Wednesday said it will withhold the money if the state government fails to back the donation with some state funding.

The IFAD Country Programme Manager, Atsuko Toda, who disclosed this, noted that for over one year, the state government had failed to remit money to the Community-Based Agricultural and Rural Development Programme, CBARDP, which is an IFAD-assisted programme.

Ms. Toda said this during the 16th supervision mission of the programme. She was accompanied by other IFAD consultants and Federal Government officials.

“We will continue to plead with the state government to release its counterpart funds, but if our pleas do not receive positive response, then I will have to return the money which is about one million dollars to my headquarters,’’she said.

She explained that the team was visiting some beneficiary states – Katsina, Zamfara and Kebbi – to assess the implementation and impact of the programme with only six months to the withdrawal IFAD funding. She said that during the team’s tour of the state, which took them through three local government areas of Gummi, Bakura and Maradun, they “discovered three basic infrastructure needs  –  the lack of access roads, water and irrigation’’.

Ms. Toda called on the states to partner with IFAD to provide the infrastructure needs of the affected villages.

“This is so that we can continue to empower the youths, women and the poor in the areas,” she said.

The programme manager, however, expressed satisfaction with the impact of the programme on the benefitting villages and communities, saying “I am confident that with the zeal shown by these rural dwellers, they can continue with their projects even after our folding up in the next six months’’.

Under the CBARDP, traditional birth attendants were trained and supported with materials while women groundnut processing groups were given seeds. The programme also afforded children, pregnant women and nursing mothers the opportunity to get complementary diets; while farmers were also supported with improved seeds and irrigation pumps.

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