Nigeria is the second largest importer of rice in the world, buying at least two million metric tons per year from exporting countries like China and Thailand. Yet Nigeria’s fertile land and rich agro-climatic conditions could easily produce rice to feed the entire country and generate surplus for the region.
MARKETS helps rice farmers in five states: Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Imo and Kwara. Our process begins with identifying the final market: what consumers purchase. We then partner with a commercial agribusiness to produce for the market. For example, our partner Olam Nigeria Limited upgraded a rice processing line to increase its capacity by over 300 percent.
We then address a common constraint for agribusinesses: the need for reliable and quality supply, delivered on time and in large loads. Farmers, on the other hand, need loans to invest in quality inputs; they need access to inputs, and often require training to increase production and meet quality standards. Our partner lender, First Bank, has provided over USD 5 million in commercial credit to help rice farmers achieve these needs.
Installing processing technology is not enough to compete with imported rice. For Olam to produce such high quality rice, farmers must grow long-grain, high-quality rice paddy. MARKETS has been working with farmers to produce the necessary varieties for large-scale commercial processing. The result: Mama’s Pride branded rice is produced from these farmers’ paddy, and is the first Nigerian rice to effectively compete with imports on both price and quality.
Since 2006, MARKETS farmers increased yield from 1.5 metric tons per hectare to as high as 5 metric tons. This outranks both ECOWAS and Nigerian averages (see pictorial below), an effort that has been recognized by the United Nations.
SUCCESSFUL RICE FARMERS
Samuel Aremu nearly tripled his rice yield, thanks to MARKETS' on-farm training technologies and improved seed varieties. Read his and other success stories below: