Forum Lists Rice As Key To Prosperity


Participants at a rountable on rice, which featured major producers, have said the crop is essential to the continued health, wealth and prosperity of Nigeria.

This is contained in the communiqué issued at the end of the roundtable on the rice supply chain development held in Minna, Niger State capital.

It was organised by Agribusiness Supplier Development Programme (ASDP).

The meeting was convened by ASDP, which is being implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL.

They stressed the need to create a standard to reassure producers and consumers on the quality of Nigeria’s premium rice. The discussions also considered the essential roles rice research and access to new technologies play in improving the livelihoods of farm families.

To address the challenges faced by commercial banks in lending to farmers, the forum called on the government and the private sector to sensitise farmers properly on available finances from the banks and other sources as well as use of inputs and good agricultural practices to boost productivity.

riceIt emphasised the need to identify real farmers and verify their farm sizes and holdings using appropriate technologies. Farmers, the communique maintained, should be encouraged to always honour agreements and stop side selling to strengthen the relationship with the financial institutions and off takers.

The forum advised that state governments’ interference in the anchor borrower scheme should be limited to facilitating loan recovery, and that there should be social networking and cross guarantee to check loan default among beneficiaries.

The participants urged that there should be timely financial support to farmers and extension services, as finance is an essential ingredient for attaining self-sufficiency in rice production. The current procedure of lending to the farmers under the anchor borrower scheme,the farmers said should be reviewed to make it more flexible.

They urged the government to establish grazing ranches at appropriate locations for herdsmen to check the destruction of farmlands and farmers-herdsmen conflict.

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