Benue state farmers say they are now benefiting from increased crop production, processing, and marketing under the Benue State Agricultural Value Chain Development Programme.
A farmer from Guma Local Council, Mr. Shembega Terseer stated that, before the value chain programme, grains like rice, maize, and soya beans, were under priced, the introduction of the unified standard weight measure was putting more money in their pockets.
The flag off of the unified standard weight and measure by Governor Samuel Ortom, is part of the partnership programme with the International Fund for Agricultural Development IFAD.
In 2015, the Benue state government in partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development IFAD, began the value chain development programme to empower local farmers.
The programme focuses on linking local farmers with off-taker large scale farmers who provide them with technical skills and farm practices to grow more rice and cassava.
With the opening up of rural roads, processing facilities and the unified standard measure to protect farmers, the farmer, Mr. Terseer and the IFAD team leader, Mr. Samuel Eremie, believe that farmers are beginning to reap from the value chain programme.
“Before we felt cheated if someone wants to buy crops, they come to Gbajimba where people don’t understand things, but now we thank the governor for opening up the road, which is in good condition now as buyers come in easy to patronise us”.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Mr. Tersoo Kpelai during the official presentation at the new ultra-modern market, gives details of the packaging policy.
“We have 28 inches by 47 inches for grains such as rice, soya beans, millet and a demonstration of the 28/47 inches is there for the symbolic flag off”.
While flagging off the unified standard measure, Governor Samuel Ortom, warn against manipulating the packaging process.
“We do not want people who come to us to buy to be shortchanged, or do we want anyone shortchanging our farmers who toil day and night all year round to ensure that they produce”.
“What we have simply done here is to have the correct weight and measure equipment that can give our farmers value and also give value for those who are going to buy”.
With increased farming and marketing activities of agro allied products, the new ultra-modern market with about 1,000 local up shops may become the new trading hub in Benue state.