BusinessDay

IDH, Alluvial partner to help 15,000 Nigerian rice farmers boost yields

Alluvial Agriculture, a community farming initiative supporting thousands of farmers, is partnering IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, to help 15,000 Nigerian rice farmers optimise their productivity over three years.

The partnership will support the Alluvial Community Block Farming Rice Project, to provide support services such as training in good agronomic and sustainable production practices, inputs, mechanization, land and market access for 15,000 smallholder farmers in Adamawa and Taraba states in Nigeria’s north.

The project aims to see farmers cultivating these hectares through two harvests per year to produce 250,000 tonnes of rice paddy, worth over $121 million, within three years.

“IDH is pleased to partner with Alluvial in integrating 15,000 smallholder rice farmers into their supply chain and support them with best farming practices, inputs and services through the block farming model,” says Cyril Ugwu, IDH country director. “It is our hope that the project will transform the business practices of the company and provide better income and livelihoods to the farmers.”

Read also: Rice farmers call for creation of cottage industries

A particular focus of the initiative is on empowering female smallholder farmers, given the challenges caused by a lack of opportunities, a dominant patriarchal society, religious constraints and financial exclusion, according to a press statement.

An example of such female farmers is Keturah Joseph, a 46-year-old farmer in Adamawa state, who relies on her one-hectare farmland to provide for her four children, yet, the farm is underutilized due to financial constraints and a lack of knowledge.

“Getting inputs is one thing; knowing which are the right inputs needed for your crops is another,” says Joseph. “When we have the funds to buy the inputs, we are not sure which ones will bring in the best yields, and this makes farming emotionally and financially draining for me as a woman. It makes it hard for me to take care of my family properly.”

A comprehensive training program has been developed for the project which will cover land selection, preparation and nursery establishment, fertiliser and herbicide application, harvesting and storage.

“Rice is a staple crop in Nigeria but imports are robbing our farming population of their livelihoods,” says Dimieari Von Kemedi, managing director and Co-founder of Alluvial Agriculture. “Empowering the majority of farmers who are imperative to food production is a vital first step in increasing production.”

With the right inputs and information through the Alluvial Community Block Farming Project, farmers are expected to increase their annual farm yield by at least 50 percent.

In 2021, which was the first year of the three-year project, Alluvial says significant impact has already been recorded, with a portion of the target population of farmers already getting inputs and more jobs getting created.

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