By Moses Nosike
Whichever way you like your rice prepared, the journey to a satisfying dish can be long and winding. But where exactly does the journey begin? If you are thinking of the kitchen or the local market, on the contrary, it begins on the rice farm!
While helping to bring our favourite rice recipes to life, rice farmers play a significant role in sustaining food security. However, this has not come without challenges some of which include poor land tenure system, low level of irrigation farming, poor distribution of inputs, limited training & financing, high post-harvest losses and poor access to markets.
On a mission to solve the myriad of challenges local rice farmers encounter, an indigenous rice manufacturing company, WACOT Limited, producers of Premium Big Bull Rice have developed beneficial partnerships with some local rice farmers across several states in Nigeria. The partnerships involve identifying the specific needs of the local rice farmer wherever they may reside and empowering them to increase productivity, improve their economic wellbeing & guarantee food security.
According to Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, local rice production in the country rose to 9 million metric tonnes in 2021 from about 5.4 million metric tonnes in 2015, making local rice farmers even more integral to sustaining food security.
WACOT Limited is supporting local rice farmers by providing training in several communities to enable them gain hands-on experience in modern and improved rice farming techniques. This is in addition to providing credit and exposing them to efficient harvesting methods using the most up-to-date agricultural practices to ensure maximum output, improve yield as well as derive high return on investment.
Bello Musa, a rice farmer in Rafin Malam, highlighted his challenges which include low yield per hectare, lack of access to credit facilities and low exposure to modern rice farming practices. He commended the initiative by WACOT Limited which in the past six years have equipped him and others with knowledge through training on modern rice farming techniques as well as access to credit.
“The training offered by WACOT Limited has dramatically transformed my farming practice thus resulting in a boost in my yield. By also providing access to credit, WACOT Limited has solved over 50% of our problems because this has enabled us secure viable inputs such as seeds and equipment needed to run a successful farm. My business is more profitable because of this partnership” Musa stated
Dan Tonka Buga, a rice farmer, also stated that before the intervention by WACOT Limited, access to credit to enable her to expand her rice farm was a major problem. The five-year partnership with WACOT Limited has been rewarding as the initiative has enabled her to expand from one-hectare farmland to 2.5 hectares. “In only the first year, after harvest, I paid back a loan and was left with enough to feed my family, expand my trade, increase productivity, and move up the economic ladder” Buga noted
Entering the June/July season, many local rice farmers are preparing for yet another harvest season. As interest in rice farming continues to rise, manufacturers like WACOT Limited, producers of Big Bull Rice are doing their part to provide an enabling environment for rice farmers across the country to increase their annual yield and profitability, while contributing to national food security.
With Big Bull Rice, you are assured of good quality, safety and the great taste of homegrown ingenuity. It is readily available in Open Markets, neighbourhood stores, Supermart, Modern Trade, etc. in varying SKUs (750g, 2.25kg, 10kg, 25kg and 50kg) to fit consumers’ preferences.