Abia State: Bad roads threaten IFAD-Sponsored Projects

Sunday August 7, 2011 – Benefactors still used inadequate tools for cultivation

Bad roads network in Abia State have become a threat to the completion of rural community projects funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

The projects are being executed under the Community-Based Natural Resources Management
Programme, which is on-going in the nine states in the Niger Delta region. It is being implemented under a counterpart funding arrangement involving the federal, state and local governments as well as the benefitting communities.
The projects include a six-hectare plantain plantation and 12 hectares of cassava farms in
Okwoyi, Umuahia North local government area, a seven-hectare rice plantation in Atan Abam in Arochukwu LGA and another seven-hectare of rice plantation in Ofeme, Umuahia North LGA of the state.
Mr Mark Ezeala, the State Programme Officer (SPO), said that the projects were meant for the less privileged; adding that it was why they were sited in rural areas.
Reports from the IFAD/FGN Joint Supervision Mission indicated that trip to the project locations was almost aborted due to bad roads.
The situation was worse in Okwoyi where the IFAD team, that had defied heavy rainfall to complete their mission, were deterred by impassable roads.
At Ofeme, the team, in their rain boots, took pains to move across the swampy bad roads for inspection.
Mr Robert Nwoko, a beneficiary from Okwoyi, said that though the project had brought succour to the people, “the roads to our plantations are impassable.”
“Since we started this programme, there have been lots of improvement in our daily living, but we want the government to look into some of the areas we have problems,” he said.
Nwoko said efforts by him and other farmers to boost cultivation of cassava and plantain would amount to nothing, if there were no roads to link the plantations.
Mr Okorie Okorie, another beneficiary from Atani Abam, said beneficiaries were also grappling with the old and outdated methods of cultivation.
Okorie said that if the Federal Government was desirous of realising the objectives of the IFAD-sponsored projects in the state, there was the need to introduce modern farming techniques.
He said that government should also provide tractors and other equipment to farmers.
Mrs Judith Nwaogwugwu, another recipient, stressed the need for financiers of the project to increase the amount of funds given to beneficiaries, adding: `What we are getting is not enough. Source: Daily Times Nigeria