From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
A multinational company Alluvial in collaboration with MasterCard Foundation is partnering with Omor Community in Ayamelum Local Government Area of Anambra State in rice and cassava production in large quantities.
Alluvial is known to provide comprehensive value chain support to smallholder farmers to increase both their production volumes and the market value of their crops.
Alluvial CEO Mr Von Kemedi, who made the intention of the company known when he visited the traditional ruler of Omor Community, Igwe Dr Oranu Chris Chidume, at his palace, said Alluvial has historically focused on rice production but, with growing domestic demand and the skills in-house, has expanded to include an active agriculture and cassava arm to the farms.
Igwe Chidume, receiving the team, promised that the community would partner with the company for the rice production, ‘if you need 10,000 or 20,000 farmers in Omor community, they are there and ready to participate in the programme while the land is there to be accessed.’
Mr Kemedi said: ‘We are now developing a programme in Anambra State to reach about 10,000 farmers in Anambra State. We are targeting the next season to work with the farmers. We don’t want to wait until June or July before we start. We want to start a pilot project work in rice and the other one in cassava and one of this pilot will take place in Omor community. We want to continue and sustain the working relationship in rice and cassava production.
‘The relationship we are entering with the farmers is a long term relationship, it is not a one or two years programme. It is not this year we are here and next year we are not here; no, it’s a long term programme and commercially sustainable. That means we will provide support for the farmers in the areas of mechanisation, seeds and access to the market as well as insurance they have nothing to worry about and also provide essential services.
‘This will be on a consistent basis of over five years and very comprehensive programmes. We shall work with farmers co-operatives. We shall need about 50 hectares of land as a take-off land. We shall start registration now and by January we start the pilot farming in Omor.
‘We are moving very quickly under our mandate with the MasterCard of spreading the block model to do a few pilot projects here in Omor to demonstrate that farming can be profitable when a private company like Alluvial works with smallholder farmers. There will be a pilot project we are going to start here from January 2021 and, by the next main rainy season farming, we intend to start the project with the farmers here.
‘We are happy and thank Igwe Chidume for the support we are receiving; definitely, this is going to make a big difference in farmers in this area. We are working very closely with the traditional rulers to get across to the farmers co-operative societies and make land available for the project.
‘We have signed an agreement with MasterCard Foundation to support 65,000 farmers in eight states of the country. 80 per cent of these farmers are women, while another 80 per cent are youths. We have a close partnership with JOSAN giant Rice Mill in Omor-Umumbo where we supply the mill with rice paddy.
‘We are expected to spread the community block model for the basis of agricultural development not only within those eight states but across the country and beyond. Since then we have entered another arrangement to support 10,000 farmers in Taraba and Adamawa states bringing the number to 75,000 farmers we are supporting across the country.’
In the delegation to the Igwe Omor was Chief Oliver Okeke, the CEO of JOSAN rice mill in Omor-Umumbo, and Mr Arthur Mbuba, the Anambra State Director Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, who represented the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, among others.