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Alia Boosts Agriculture In Benue, Commissions 33 New Tractors, Disburses ₦380m To Farmers

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Benue State Governor, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, on Sunday, June 2nd, 2024, commissioned 33 new Tractors, and also disbursed N380,000,000 ($250,000.00) cheques to community interest groups to undertake climate smart agricultural activities in the state, under the Community Revolving Fund (CRF) scheme of the Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes (ACReSAL) scheme.

Governor Alia, who has already paid One Billion Naira (N1,000,000,000) as counterpart fund for the ACReSAL programme, reaffirmed his administration’s commitment towards providing the needed support for the programme to continue to thrive in Benue for the overall good of the people of the state.

He appreciated the relentless efforts of ACReSAL in safeguarding the environment, saying his government is proud to collaborate on a project of such consequence, designed to improve the lives of the people of Benue.

While he pronounced the immediate creation of ACReSAL as a new Agency of government in the state for the purpose of knowledge and skills transfer, the governor said Benue like many other states in the country, share numerous challenges such as high poverty rates, a fragile environment, conflicts, degradation of natural resources, low agricultural productivity, climate-related risks, saying addressing such challenges require collective efforts.

“Addressing these multifaceted issues necessitates a concerted effort across various sectors. The ACReSAL project is specifically tailored to bolster institutions and implement activities that mitigate the environmental impacts of climate change. This includes supporting efforts aimed at landscape management, improving community livelihoods and resilience, and strengthening institutional frameworks.”

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He urged the beneficiaries of the Community Revolving Fund (CRF) to exercise diligence and prudence in managing the resources, assuring that the 33 tractors commissioned will benefit over 33,000 households in the state annually.

Earlier in her speech, the Senior Environmental Specialist at the World Bank Nigeria office, who also doubles as the Task team leader for the ACReSAL project, Dr. Joy Iganya Ajene, said the team were in the state to assess, support and look at the bottlenecks of the programme in Benue, stating that they discovered no bottlenecks, been an indication the programme has so far recorded great success in the state.

She commended the government of Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia and the ACReSAL team in the state for playing their respective roles, saying Benue stands to gain more from the programme, urging the government to continue to strengthen the needed institutions in order to continue to gain more benefits.

Also in his remarks, the National Project Coordinator for the ACReSAL Project,  Dr. Prince Abdulhamid Umar, appreciated Governor Hyacinth Alia and his government for supporting ACReSAL in the state as well as the World Bank for making funds available for the Community Revolving Funds (CFR) programme, expressing happiness with the success the programme has recorded so far in the state.

On his part, the Commissioner for Water Resources, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Ugwu Odoh, appreciated the governor for his support for the project, informing him that the ministry has been very supportive of the ACReSAL team in the state, the reason they have recorded so much success with the programme.

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In his welcome address, the State Project Coordinator, Benue ACReSAL, Builder Victor Ama, said the ACReSAL programme seeks to amongst other things, address the challenges of land degradation and climate change in Northern Nigeria on a multi-dimensional scale, increase agricultural production, reduce poverty and improve standard of living with financing from the World Bank.

According to Ama, the project became effective in June 2022 and will end in March 2028, and it covers 19 Northern States including the FCT, Abuja, disclosing that the Benue State Government under Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, has paid a counterpart fund of 1 Billion naira, as well as provided a conducive working environment for the team in the state.

He said the project is aimed at supporting community farmers in the state, being the mandate of the component “B” of the ACReSAL project which is aimed at enhancing the resilience of communities and to improve their livelihoods.

Aside from the commissioning of the 33 tractors, the sum of N380 Million ($250,000.00) was disbursed to different Community Interest Groups (CIGs), to support community/farmer groups to undertake climate smart agriculture related activities in the targeted watersheds in Makurdi and Vandeikya LGAs.

The benefitting communities are Wurukum, North Bank, Adeke, Mbagbera, Branch Atser, Mbayongu as well as High-Level township communities.

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