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Naija Rice Project to better farmers’ lives

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Naija Rice Project to better farmers’ lives… Yields 4.2 Million tons of Rice Yearly

By Vera Anyagafu

Following the launch of the Anchors Borrowers Programme in 2015 by the Buhari-led administration, the private and public actors in the agricultural industry have since continued to collaborate to create sustainable commercial frameworks that will boost rice production in Nigeria as well as improve quality of products across the value chain.

In line with this, while also responding to the clarion call, Green Eagles’ Agribusiness Solutions Limited, a private Agric Firm based in Lagos, designed a flagship initiative; a masterstroke to better the lives of farmers while massively upscaling rice production to up to 4.2 Million tons of Rice Yearly.

According to the Company’s Managing Director, Taiwo Oluwadahunsola, Green Eagles’ Naija Rice project, launched in Kebbi state, February 2019, has since inception, enlisted over 250 farmers in different communities such as Zagga in Bagudo Local Government Area of the state.

He revealed that Kebbi state was chosen as a starting point, following studies of various agro-ecological conditions of various states in Nigeria.

While also explaining that the firm is passionate about driving rice sufficiency in Nigeria by sponsoring rice farmers with quality inputs and capacity building, he said, “Our model is very sustainable. We will build, operate and grant rice Mills after 7 years to the community of 250 farmers while keeping them in our loop for sustained access to markets. Farmers lack funds for production in the dry season. We provide them with input and funds at zero cost. Secondly, is capacity building, send in extension officers to enlighten farmers to follow good agronomic practices, keeping farmers from getting low yield or low income.’’

He also said that since the commencement of the project in Kebbi states, encomiums have poured in from the farmers and community leaders, disclosing that the Meghaji Zagga, a traditional ruler in one of the cluster communities, had stated that, “the company delivered on its promises to provide inputs promptly for our farmers. The inputs have improved our farming and we can now plant during the dry season.”

In the same vein, the Zagga Farmers coordinator who  also share  similar view with the traditional ruler,  said that the project has improved the quality of lives of their farmers and promised the firm to be judicious with the inputs.

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However, Oluwadahunsola, while speaking further on the economic positives of the project,  explained that the project will lead to a very high quality of rice production that is affordable as low as N8,000 per bag in the few years and investors will earn 40% returns every six months for 7 years after which the capital is exhausted.

Continuing, he stated that,  “Though the project kicked off at Kebbi and Adamawa states there is a plan to expand the project to other states.

“The goal is to sponsor 700 groups of 250 farmers who will cultivate 2 hectares twice in the year to produce 6 tons per hectare for a gross output of 4.2 million tons of rice yearly. At N13,000 per bag of rice, gross revenue of N720 billion is projected. In effect, we would bridge the rice production gap, move our economy forward, creating sustainable wealth for sponsors, employment for millions and revenue flow for the government.”

In furtherance, Oluwadahunsola, said that these are good times for the Agriculture players and investors irrespective of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“Although the National Bureau of Statistics’ (NBS) report for Q1 of 2020 showed Agriculture sector contributed 20.88% to nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) higher than the rates recorded for first quarter of 2019, there is so much more to expect in the years to come”, Oluwadahunsola submitted.

Vanguard

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