NIGERIA – The Federal Government of Nigeria in collaboration with the World Bank is opening new market frontiers for rice farmers by linking them with off-takers and aggregators, reported This Day Nigeria.

Through the Ministry of Water Resources, the government organised a business forum bringing together rice farmers, off-takers and other value chain actors in a bid to make rice production more attractive and profitable.

The forum was organised under the Transforming Irrigation Management in Nigeria (TRIMING), a four-year World Bank project with the ministry aimed at improving access to irrigation and drainage services and to strengthen institutional capacities.

The project provides technical assistance at each irrigation scheme and initiates strong forward and backward linkages along the value chains.

It entails adding value to rice production by creating the right linkages and getting the right deal for the farmer and everyone in the value chain.

It is expected that at the Kano Business Forum, rice farmers and other stakeholders would initiate deals and ultimately sign good contracts for the 2018 rainy season which has gradually started.

“We have brought all the value chain actors to the table to initiate business deals for 2018 rainy season rice.

Here, we have rice farmers from public irrigation schemes in Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto and Zamfara states.

There are also input suppliers, financial services providers, extension service providers, mechanisation providers and off-takers from around the country.

“The aim of the federal government and this project is to link all these actors together to open up markets for rice farmers, make rice production more competitive and turn the farmers’ agribusinesses into multi-million naira ventures”, he explained.

According to him, TRIMING project would support rice as the main crop during the rainy and dry seasons while also supporting other crops like wheat, potato, maize and tomato during the dry season throughout the five-year duration of the project.

This is part of a ‘rice revolution’ move in Nigeria where the federal government is targeting the production of 8 million tonnes of paddy by rice farmers across the country in 2018 wet season.