When we hear the words “local rice farmer”, we might imagine a rural dweller in a straw hat cultivating their crops in a rice paddy. As familiar as this picture might be, the story does not end there. Local rice farmers contribute a significant quota to the national effort towards achieving food security and a more productive economy.
With a rapidly growing population of over 200 million people, coupled with the prevalence of hunger and malnutrition, ramping up local production of dominant staples like rice is crucial for Nigeria to attain food security and lift millions of people out of poverty.
The need to empower local rice farmers is made even more pressing by a recent report of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation published in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development which warns that about 19.4 million people in Nigeria could face food insecurity between June and August 2022.
In another study titled “Perceived Training Needs of Smallholder Rice Farmers on Urea Deep Placement Technology in Benue State, Nigeria”, researchers at the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State and Federal University, Wukari, Taraba State cited an urgent need to “give utmost priority to the training needs of the smallholder rice farmers to improve their knowledge level and use of technologies for increased productivity.”
In spite of their important contribution to the agricultural sector, local rice farmers continue to face the challenges of limited access to land and credit facilities, inadequate farm inputs, training and guidance as well as the availability of modern technology.
These challenges highlight the importance of interventions like that of WACOT Rice Limited manufacturers of Premium Big Bull Rice, which is enabling local rice farmers across several states to close the food security gap by providing skills acquisition training, access to credit and access to modern technology to drive increased productivity. An increase in their production output will empower the farmers economically and ensure sustainability in local rice production to address food security challenges in Nigeria.
Confirming this, Ibrahim Alhassan, a young rice farmer in Gidan Agoda, Kebbi State whose partnership with WACOT Rice Limited spans over seven years, stated that many farmers in his community have been able to increase their yield with access to the best fertilizers and other resources that guarantee optimum output.
“Thanks to WACOT Rice Limited, the problem of not having qualitative input has been solved,” Alhassan said. “We use to have a high incidence of farmers who could not afford reliable fertilizers, so they end up buying adulterated or inferior fertilizers and agro-chemicals. But with WACOT Rice Limited, there has been a turnaround and we are able to use top-quality fertilizers that have yielded excellent produce.”
He also commended WACOT Rice Limited for exposing local rice farmers to modern farming techniques through numerous training sessions over the years. According to him, the intervention of the rice manufacturing giant has played a monumental role in transforming rice farming from an ordinary way of life into a business that benefits an entire community.
“Working with WACOT Rice Limited for the past 7 years, I have received assistance which has changed my life for the better such that I can provide food for myself and my loved ones, housing, and other forms of welfare for the family,” Alhassan noted.
With deep reflection on his journey so far, the young rice farmer maintained that the same is the case for many others in my community. “The impact is felt all over town and we are all grateful for these investments,” he added.
As interest in rice farming continues to rise, companies like WACOT Rice Limited, producers of premium Big Bull Rice, are doing their part to provide the enabling environment for rice farmers across several states to increase their annual yield and profitability, while contributing to national food security.
Big Bull Rice is readily available in open markets, neighbourhood stores, supermarkets & modern trade stores and packaged in varying SKUs of 750g, 2.25kg, 5kg, 10kg, 25kg and 50kg.