The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Precision Agriculture for Development (PAD) is set to empower smallholders farmers against the economic hardship induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The intervention is part of IFAD’s Climate Change Adaptation and Agribusiness Support Programme (CASP) and the Nigeria Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (RPSF) in Nigeria.
IFAD launched the multi-donor COVID-19 Rural Poor Stimulus Facility as part of its broader COVID-19 response to improve the resilience of rural livelihoods by ensuring timely access to inputs, information, markets and liquidity.
The Nigeria RPSF was launched today, November 12th, as part of the Rural Poor Stimulus Facility CASP/PAD Inception Workshop in Abuja.
PAD, which is pioneering a new model to transform agricultural extension will deploy its mobile technology-based agricultural extension service for the project.
Under the project, PAD is set to partner the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) to deliver customized agricultural information to farmers through their mobile phones.
The specialised UN agency explained that the facility would help to cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic outbreak on poor rural farmers.
IFAD said, “The Nigeria RPSF is designed to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on smallholder farmers and to insulate domestic food supply by supporting access to affordable inputs and advisory to sustain production.
“PAD will work with IFAD and the implementation unit in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to build and scale mobile phone-based agricultural extensions to smallholder farmers in seven states.
“Our advisory service will be delivered through Interactive Voice Response and will focus on increasing knowledge about affordable inputs, and promote productivity and income-generating activities for 100,000 smallholder farmers in Nigeria.
“RPSF will be implemented in 7 northern states: Borno, Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe, Zamfara between Nov 2020 and Oct 2021, with proposed support for the cultivation of rice, maize, groundnuts, wheat, vegetables and soybean.”
On requirement to participate in the project, IFAD further disclosed that beneficiaries must be working farms of half an hectare in dry season and one hectare in wet season.
The international financial institution added that half of the beneficiaries will be women and a quarter will be youth.
PAD has reached more than 2.5 million farmers across eight countries – Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan – and aims to improve the lives of 100 million farmers in developing countries over the next decade.
“The ultimate goal of the RPSF is to accelerate the recovery of poor and vulnerable rural people from the COVID-19 crisis.
“This will be achieved through IFAD’s target group having the capacity, assets and overall resilience to cope with shocks through lessons that are incorporated into IFAD’s work from the implementation and innovations of the RPSF; and through a strengthened capacity to deliver digital support.”
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