Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
About 23,000 farmers in Benue State who were either affected by the 2018 flood or by conflicts are to benefit from the National Emergency Agricultural Intervention Fund.
The fund which is under the National Food Security Program of the Federal Government and chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari is to cover 18 states of the federation.
Speaking to newsmen in Makurdi on Wednesday, Deputy Director from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Dr. Martins Ejike who led the NEMA team to Benue said the fund is one of federal government’s intervention program in the agricultural sector.
Ejike noted that the program is to address two major issues of farmers affected by conflicts as well as farmers who were affected by the 2018 flood disaster.
“The people benefiting are those farmers who were affected by flood and conflict. We are here to implement the project and we will be attending to those that were enumerated earlier on.
“We were given the mandate to go and use the list that had been generated earlier on and handed over to us for implementation and we will be giving out baskets to affected farmers based on hectarage.
Also speaking, Supervisor in charge of a flood, Mr. Eugene Nyelong, stated that NEMA would be collaborating with the state government and the state Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) in the disbursement of the funds.
While also lamenting the challenges faced by NEMA especially in the area of coordinating the disbursement, Nyelong said the team was trying to tackle the challenge with the assistance of security personnel and the state government.
“We are collaborating with SEMA and the state government but the constraint we are facing is the coordination aspect. We have sensitized the people but anxiety is making the people not to be well organized. However, we are tackling all of that with the assistance of security agencies to identify those who are the real beneficiaries.”
The NEMA team commended the state government for the cooperation they have received so far and expressed the optimism that the fund would benefit those farmers who were directly affected by conflict and flood.