By Edwin Nwanojuo
The Federal Government has been urged to replicate the Fadama II approach in the execution of its community projects and other intervention programmes to aid speedy development in the country.
Mr Ephraim Nkonya, a Senior Research Fellow, with Environmental and Production Technology Division, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington DC, made the call in an interview with journalists in Abuja.
Nkonye said that government should adopt the bottom approach of the implementation of the FADAMA II project, because of its success rate.
He said that IFPRI which has a worldwide presence carried out a research to evaluate the impact of the FADAMA II project on Nigeria in 2007.
“ We started with Fadama II project in 2007 and we were able to do a good study which showed that the impact of the project increased the income of people by 60 per cent in very short time.
“It was successfully targeted at the women, youths and poor which was a big shocker to people out there because of their preconceived bad impressions about Nigeria.
“The good thing about the FADAMA II project is that it was targeted at persons who are the poorest members of the society; it was also targeted at women and youths and the whole venture was successful.
“When the donors and everybody read the report, they marvelled at its findings. There and then, they decided to finance more FADAMA projects,’’ he added.
Nkonya recalled that when the problem in the North East started, the World Bank and Federal Government did not look far before Fadama which was chosen because of the successful usage of bottom (mainstay) approach.
“They said we are going to give them money and they gave them money to implement the restoration of livelihood in the North East.
“If you look at the history of this project for the past 26 years is like you are grooming a child and the child is now matured.
“A matured child with a lot of experience and skills needs to be used for implementation for all the rural development project,” he said.
He noted that if the government wanted to achieve result among rural farmers, youths and women, Fadama bottom approach should be used to implement all the programmes in Nigeria.
“My plea to the government is to mainstay the Fadama approach because Agricultural Development Project (ADP) was a project before it was upgraded to a programme.
“I will like to see Fadama being mainstay so that it will become development programme for rural Nigeria.
“It would be very good because they have built very strong institutions and infrastructure from the grassroot to national level.
“They have a lot of the experience to be able to achieve the meaningful development objectives as seen in all Fadama projects.
He, however, described some challenges that the programme faced during implementation as expected.
“This happened because of the financial constraint and focus; Federal Government really needs to increase the fund for a successful project like Fadama.
“Fadama III benefited 965,000 households, or about 4.8 million poor people and they produced a lot, the standard market must also be available available for them.
“And I hope we will start planning for the future’’ he said.