From Magnus Eze, Abuja
Nigerian smallholder beneficiaries of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-sponsored Market 11 project raked in over N180 billion in rice production in five years, Managing Director of Market 1, Harvey Schartup, has said.
Speaking at an event to mark the closing of the project in Abuja, yesterday, he said higher-quality rice production in the wet season, coupled with increased dry season production had helped to ensure a more consistent and reliable supply of high quality local paddy.
The sum of N129,837,264.649 was generated from sales from wet season rice; while N51,932,039,661 was raked in from dry season sales.
Daily Sun gathered that smallholder rice farmers had increased productivity (MT/ha) per crop cycle by 119 per cent and 141 per cent over the baseline’s national average for wet season rice and irrigated dry season rice, respectively.
According to a document detailing update on the project, “wet season rice farmers increased their gross margins by 526 per cent in the project’s final year compared to the baseline. Over the life of the project, wet season rice farmers produced more than 1.7 million metric tonnes of rice, generating N129,837,264.649 in sales.
Dry season rice farmers increased their gross margins by 762 per cent in the project’s final compared to baseline.
Over the life of the project, dry season rice farmers produced more than 429,800 metric tonnes of rice, generating nearly N51,932,039,661 in sales.
The Market 11 project, which ends in October had from 2012 promoted and improved yield varieties, dry and wet season production, urea supergranules for fertiliser deep placement, line transplanting and appropriate mechanisation, including tillers, threshing machines, direct paddy seeders and fertiliser applicators.
Commenting further on the achievements of the USAID Market 11 project, Schartup said, “together, we have shown that agricultural activities, both farming and non-farming, can be good business if done in a professional business-like way; not necessarily sophisticated but following simple basic business management. We have shown that it can be done here, should be done here, is being done here, and works here.”