RUDEP hosts Apex Meeting
Apex meeting is the biannual gathering of representatives of the executives of the farmers' groups across the Oyo, Oke-Ogun and Oyo areas of Oyo state, facilitated by RUDEP. The first edition for 2017 was held on June 28 and the last edition held on Wednesday, October 11 at JDPM house.
The Special guest at the meeting was the State Project Coordinator of FADAMA, for Oyo state, Mr Nathaniel Olayinka. Mr Olayinka was however unavoidably absent and was ably represented by Mr Oyelakin who is the officer in charge of Oyo and Iseyin areas for FADAMA. Mr Nathaniel was invited specifically to sensitise the farmers on the scope, coverage, requirements for eligibility and mode of application for FADAMA project. This was done so that RUDEP farmers could have first-hand information and eventually become beneficiaries of the project.
Mr Olayinka gave a brief introduction of FADAMA where he said it was a World Bank project in partnership with the Federal, State and Local governments. FADAMA started as far back as 1991, with several phases held. The current project is called FADAMA III AF (FADAMA 3 Additional Financing).
Mr Olayinka explained that FADAMA III AF is targeted at farmers’ groups of not more than 15 members and are registered with the CAC or Ministry of Commerce. The groups must hold regular meetings with record of minutes of meetings; have a functional bank account and not less than 25 acres of arable land in a single location.
He said groups that meet the requirements should go to FADAMA office in Ibadan or the desk officers at the various Local government secretariats with their supporting documents. The groups would be required to write a comprehensive business plan which must include the budget for the project. Groups with approved business plans would be shortlisted for the project and benefits subsequently passed on to the beneficiaries.
Mr Olayinka categorically stated the benefits would not be in monetary form but qualified and certified service providers (SPs) would be appointed to render applicable services as outlined in the business plans to the groups. The SPs would be partly paid by the Federal Government and the farmers.
He enjoined farmers to imbibe a saving culture, particularly he said the groups should endeavour to save at least 10% of their earnings, so that they would able to expand their farms by the next time they want to cultivate it.
During the interactive session, Mr Johnson Olaniyi from Akoda-Olosun complained that his group had met all the requirements and had prepared their land for cultivation but they had not received any benefits. Another farmer, Mr Alao representing Ayo-Oluwa group at Otu also had a similar complaint but the group’s name was not found on FADAMA database.
In response, Mr Oyelakin assured Akoda-Olosun group that their business plan had been approved and they have been shortlisted as one of the beneficiaries of the project. He however said the group should have gone ahead with cultivating their land. He told the other group that when he got back to the office he would address their complaint. He later gave out his contact information to the farmers, for easy communication.
Also at the meeting, the various groups present gave reports on their various activities bothering especially on youth, marketing, FLES and Vitamin A Cassava. The meeting also availed the farmers the opportunity to plan for the upcoming Farmer’s forum holding on December 14, 2017.
RUDEP Holds FLES Appraisal
FLES volunteerism is a concept designed to sustain the capacity development of farmers in the area of knowledge sharing and skill transfer. Over the past 20 years, RUDEP has trained over 5000 farmers. Some of those farmers have become successful and are ready to train other farmers. In the spirit of sharing to help others, the volunteerism concept was developed to help all stakeholders. Consequent upon this, 13 FLES volunteers were inducted on October 13, 2016 by RUDEP. The volunteers, who are spread across various communities under the coverage of JDPM Oyo, have skills and knowledge in various aspects of agriculture but have adopted an aspect for specialisation. In order to sustain the efficiency and effectiveness of the FLES concept, RUDEP organised a program, FLES APPRAISAL; to review the activities of the volunteers and also offer additional training to them. The program was also an opportunity to induct 4 new FLES volunteers. The Programme Manager for RUDEP, Dr Mathew Ojo, welcomed the volunteers and informed them about the purpose of the program. Mr Nathaniel Ajayi, a Programme Officer of RUDEP, led the volunteers to go over the contract agreement which they had signed during their induction and also brought them back to speed on the scope of their work. This was done to ensure that they do not forgot their responsibilities. The volunteers gave a report of their individual activities in the past 6 months. RUDEP commended them for their activities but however noted that their current strategy for trainings was not effective. Dr Mathew Ojo charged the volunteers to network amongst themselves, so has to know themselves and their specialisations. He also recommended that trainings should be carried out at farmers' group meetings, zonal meetings and Apex meetings. The volunteers accepted the recommendation and agreed to work with their various groups. To further help them, RUDEP gave the volunteers a list containing the name, location, phone number and specialisation of all the volunteers. The volunteers were also charged to adopt a proper way of reporting their activities, which would be required of them periodically by RUDEP. The reports must contain the name and sex of participant of the training, summary of the training, location and pictures. Dr Ojo informed volunteers that from their subsequent reports, the best performing FLES volunteer will be recognised and given a valuable gift that would be enviable by fellow volunteers, during the annual Farmers' Forum in December 2017. The new volunteers, namely: Mr Joshua Odediran from Agunrege, with specialisation in exotic vegetable farming; Mrs Adebisi Olalere from Abogunde, with specialisation in Onion production; Mr Gbade Esuola from Ajegunle and Mr Dominic Ogunsola from Iwere-Ile, with skills in fish and poultry farming, and Vitamin A Cassava processing, signed their FLES volunteerism contract agreements. A brief training was done Mr Nathaniel Ajayi on how to best handle their trainings by creating a learning environment and packaging their trainings in an attractive and engaging way.