By Amos Aar
INTERNATIONAL Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)-Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) in Benue has facilitated the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between rice farmers and Impact Grains Limited on Wednesday in Makurdi.
Speaking during the ceremony, the State Programme Coordinator (SPC), Mr Emmanuel Igbaukum, disclosed that the overall objective of the MoU was to establish a collaborative relationship among the farmer organisations as well as clusters and the off-takers, the partnership Bank and the Farm Inputs Service Providers.
Represented by Mr Isaac Okwu, the IFAD Business and Market Development Officer, Igbaukum said that IFAD-VCDP was brokering partnership relationship between off-takers and farmer organizations for sustainable production and supply of rice across the state and nation.
“VCDP shall manage the relationship in order to ensure parties meet their obligation, including handling review of meetings at state and at local government levels.
“VCDP shall use the partnership platform to enhance farmers’ income, facilitate jobs creation along the chains, enhance household food security, expand rural economy and improve rural livelihood.
“VCDP shall provide technical assistance to 10,000 farmers in addition to the 122 newly enrolled farmers to meet off-takers’ needs.
“VCDP will resolve a price determination mechanism to protect the interest of both parties and instill confidence in the relationship for sustainability,” Igbaukum said.
Also, the Area Manager of the company, Mr Timothy Durah, promised that with the signing of the MoU the company would comb all the nooks and crannies of the state to mop up rice paddy for the overall benefit of the farmers.
The state Chairman, Commodity Alliance Forum (CAF), Mr Fidelis Chia, said that the signing of the MoU meant that the monopoly of Olam had been broken.
Chia lamented that Olam was doing very well but farmers had started experiencing some lapses in the company recently, stressing that some of their aggregators who served as middlemen were shortchanging the farmers.