By Sani Idris
The Coordinator of Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project in Kaduna (KADRAAMP), Mr Zubairu Abubakar, has said that accessible roads in rural settlements would reduce post-harvest losses, cost of transportation and accident rates in the state.
Abubakar said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Kaduna.
NAN reports that RAAMP is a third-generation rural access road project, which is keyed into by 19 states, including Kaduna, and aimed at strengthening the institutional and financing base for sustainable management of state and rural road network.
RAAMP is funded through contributions from the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.
The project is being supported by the International Development Association (IDA), a subsidiary of the World Bank, and the L’Agence Francaise de Development (French Development Agency) in the form of loans.
Abubakar explained that due to inaccessibility of storage facilities and good road networks in the rural areas for the movement of farm produce to markets in the urban areas, farmers usually encounter great losses after harvesting.
He added that good road networks, if provided through the project, would reduce traveling time and the cost of transporting food items from the rural areas to the urban centres.
He noted that the world bank assisted project which would be counter funded by the Kaduna state government, will ensure food security, thereby eliminating barriers to food abundance and ensuring prosperity of rural farmers.
He also noted that the RAAMP would provide employment and opportunity for business activities.
“In the course of the construction of rural roads, skilled and semi-skilled labour will have to be employed.
“Accessibility to rural areas will open up many opportunities, lack of access makes a lot of people shy away from exploring business opportunities in rural areas,” he said.
The Coordinator further explained that the five-year project started in 2022 and would last till 2027, adding that Kaduna state would benefit immensely from the construction of rural roads and rehabilitation of existing ones that have failed.
He also said that river crossing structures in the rural areas would be constructed while existing ones would be rehabilitated.
“All these will improve trade where agricultural produce are sold,” Abubakar noted.
Abubakar, however, said they were being careful with areas that have challenges of insecurity.
He said they engaged a Consultant to do identification and prioritisation, where they would begin with areas that have less security challenges.
“The project is for five years. As time goes on and with security situation improving, the work will reach all the locations. The state government is doing its best in ensuring security in the state, as it improves, we move on,” he said.
He lauded the State Project Implementation Unit (SPIU), the State Project Monitoring Committee (SPMC) and the State Project Implementation Committee for doing well towards the success of the project.
He called on the rural dwellers to be patient, noting that the project will cut across the 23 Local Government Areas of the state, especially places with potentials for farming activities and markets farm produce.
NAN reports that the Kaduna Government, in June 2023, moved to develop bills for the establishment of Rural Access Roads Agency (RARA) and State Road Fund (SRF) to ensure development and maintenance of the rural roads in the state.
NAN also reports that Gov. Uba Sani, on September 2, flagged off road construction of Tachira-Kadarko, Tachira-Mayi Kawon Assu and Makabun-Aya-Lagum rural roads, covering a total of 17.5 kilometres in Kaura Local Government Area of the state. (NAN)
Edited by Vincent Obi