The Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) is a six-year programme of the Government of Nigeria funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The programme aims to improve incomes and food security of poor rural households engaged in production, processing and marketing of rice and cassava on a sustainable basis. VCDP was originally implemented in six states of Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Ogun, Niger and Taraba. As a result of the programme success, VCDP received additional finance for expansion into three states of Kogi, Nasarawa and Enugu making a total of 9 participating states.
The programme which is domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is implemented through the following components: (i) Agricultural Market Development which includes (Support to value addition and market linkages and support to market infrastructure ) (ii)Smallholder Productivity Enhancement which includes (Support to farmers organization and support to smallholder production) and (iii) Programme Management and Coordination. VCDP is well anchored in Nigeria government’s vision for agricultural transformation through commodity value chain approach, with emphasis on enhancing productivity and access to markets for rice and cassava smallholder farmers.
With an estimated 70% of the total population of Nigeria living in rural areas, agriculture is a mainstay of economic activity. Also, about 70% of the total farming population is composed of smallholder farmers, cultivating less than 5 ha and producing up to 90% of the total national output. Poverty remains largely a rural phenomenon, with two-thirds of the rural population considered poor. The livelihood of smallholder farmers has been constrained by a host of challenges: low productivity; paucity of opportunities for value addition; environmental degradation; limited access to productive assets and inputs; inadequate support services (extension and research); limited access to rural financial services; inadequate market and rural infrastructure (including water supply); post-harvest losses and a constrained enabling environment.
To address these challenges, the Government of Nigeria and IFAD contrived the VCDP, adopting the value chain approach, to enhance productivity increases, promotion of agro-processing, access to markets and opportunities to facilitate improved engagement of the private sector, and farmers’ organisations themselves, in the development effort.
Programme strategy and vision
The programme seeks to adopt a holistic and demand-driven approach to addressing constraints along the cassava and rice value chains. This necessitates an inclusive strategy of capacity strengthening of actors along the chain (producers, processors and their organisations), as well as enablers (public and private institutions, service providers, policy and regulatory environment). In parallel, strong emphasis is placed on developing commodity-specific Value Chain Action Plans at LGA level for specificity, and which serve as the basis for rolling out relevant and sustainable activities.
The programme strategy is anchored in a longer-term vision of value chain development for poverty reduction and accelerated economic growth, setting the foundation for fundamental organizational and functional capacity of key actors in the agricultural sector. The gradual transformation will also contribute to achieving food security, increased production and productivity, as well as expand income-generating activities and employment opportunities.
Programme Goal and objectives
The goal of the programme is to reduce rural poverty, increase food security and accelerate economic growth on a sustainable basis. The specific programme development objective is that the incomes and food security of poor rural households engaged in production, processing and marketing of rice and cassava in the targeted LGAs are enhanced on a sustainable basis.
The Programme is coordinated under the technical responsibility of Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and the State Ministries of Agriculture (MoAs) whilst implementation at the national level receives oversight and guidance from the Value Chain Steering Committee (VCSC). FMARD as the lead implementing agency, delegates the function and day-to-day implementation and coordination responsibility to the National Programme Management Unit (NPMU). In each programme State, day-to-day implementation is handled by the State Programme Management Unit (SPMU), which ensures effective and efficient implementation of programme activities at the state and LGAs level.