The World Bank and the Nigerian government have received a commendation from rice farmers for their initiatives in the “Agro Processing Productivity Enhanced and Livelihoods Support” project aimed at alleviating their challenges. The APPEALS is a project that will operate for six years and was established by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Nigeria in partnership with the World Bank to promote the policy’s emphasis on food security, trade facilitation, and the betterment of livelihoods.
Ever since the intervention’s inception, almost 9,000 people, which include youth and women, have benefited from the operation in the rice, cocoa, and poultry sector. Cross River is one of six states participating in the project, along with Lagos, Enugu, Kano, Kaduna, and Kogi. However, following APPEALS’ assistance, farmers in Cross River central of Idomi in Yakurr LGA and Ekureku in Abi LGA of the two rice clusters in the region are now engaged in the technique of processing and marketing their harvest.
New mechanism introduced reduced waste and improved yield.
They reported an increase in production, improvement in grain quality, a decrease in wastages, effective time usage, and higher income as a result of the intervention, all of which contribute to a better living for them and their family. Mr. Eni Ugobo, chairman of the Idomi cluster rice value chain, noted that It was a really serious issue before APPEALS’ assistance, in which farmers had to pay a lot for manual laborers who sometimes fled after receiving their upfront fee, making rice production difficult and yields poor output.
According to Ugobo, the task is now completed more quickly because they began utilizing machines they received when the APPEALS initiative came along. They now complete tasks that used to take three days in a single day. Because they can destone the rice, it is packaged better. He said that customers now come from both inside and outside the state as he spoke. Before the intervention, parboiling rice was wasted a lot. But now the mechanism gets rid of waste, and the paddy waste, which is the bran used to dispose of, now serves as firewood for heating. Now they mill for other neighboring communities’ farmers, and they have also enrolled their kids in school. Ugobo noted that life has improved.
Despite the disastrous flood, APPEALS encourages farmers to continue.
Mr. Samuel Elemi, cluster chairman of Ekureku-Anon of Abi local government area, testified to the advantage to the farmers, who have been motivated and glad to continue to operate at the mill in spite of recent flooding. Elemi added, business was extremely challenging; they couldn’t even meet up after the cluster founded Voda Rice Processing Factory. Since the APPEALS involvement, cultivation and production have improved with the introduction of FARO 44, a Nigerian rice variety with a high yield, long grain suited for lowlands and uplands, good milling quality and some disease resistance.
Previously, they would harvest just around 37 bags per hectare, but now they can gather about 50 bags. The level of affection between them has increased significantly. It wasn’t like back when they were taking out loans with expensive rates of interest. However, he is now sure with certainty that they are improving. They urged the World Bank as well as the Nigerian government to offer more funding to boost expansion, particularly for initiative beneficiaries who were committed to the project.
Beneficiaries are also trained to utilize machines to enhance productivity.
In a similar manner, Mrs. Gloria Ogban, who worked as a facilitator for the rice value chain as part of the Cross River APPEALS project, stated that the purpose of the intervention is to enhance value addition and increase the amount of productivity that small and medium-scale farmers were able to achieve. According to what she said, the program was giving technical support and teaching the beneficiaries how to successfully employ the machines to advance their products and develop profitable connections to markets.