NOTORE Chemical Industries, has engaged 1,644,017 million smallholder farmers across Nigeria in boosting rice production.
The Group Head, Commercial Services, Tijjani James who disclosed this in an exclusive chat with LEADERSHIP said 900,359 smallholder rice farmers in Zamfara, Kebbi, Kano, Jigawa, Ebonyi, Imo, Anambra, Adamawa, Gombe and Benue States were adequately educated out of the number in partnership with the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) on the adoption of the Urea Deep Placement Technique and Notore Urea Super Granules (USG) brand for the rice high yield-boosting.
He said the favourable government policies and huge contribution of private sector players like NOTORE has encouraged mechanised farming, while strengthening smallholder rice farmers and increasing local production of the commodity.
He explained that cassava and cowpea best practices were delivered to over 400,000 smallholder farmers via video viewing centers set up in 528 rural farming communities.
“Our partnership with AECF has enhanced rice farmers’ awareness and adoption of the USG which has increased their rice harvests. We are currently exploring partnership with GiZ to deploy solar powered flagship communication and distribution outlets in deep rural communities to increase agricultural extension video viewing and fertilizer purchase points.
“This will shorten the distance traveled to buy fertilizers and improve farmer education. We are also expanding our village promoter network to 6000 by 2019 to improve information dissemination,” he said.
He noted that rice importation in Nigeria had been an impediment to local rice production due to low attention given by farmers and government.
“Nigeria’s rice production is about 7,000,000mt and importation of the product has dropped significantly. Most of the rice retailed across Nigeria today is fully farmed, processed and bagged in the country.
These are all direct consequences of the bumper rice harvests that farmers have been experiencing.
“Soon, we will be coming to the smallholder farmers with cassava specialty blend fertilizers that will hugely impact cassava yields and harvest. Over time, the smallholder farmers have grown to recognise NOTORE’s efforts and have in turn been rewarding the company with unflinching loyalty and patronage.”
He reiterated that NOTORE has trained over 5,300 village promoter staff supporting the company to expand its agricultural extension services into the deepest rural farming communities.
“We have always put the smallholder farmers at the heart of our marketing activities because they are responsible for over 90% of Nigeria’s agricultural outputs.
“NOTORE has been driving internal efficiencies in the past 6 months to reduce production and distribution costs. This has, to a large extent, been responsible for the drop of Urea retail prices from N7,200 in August last year to N6,500 per 50kg bag. Our desire is to work collaboratively with the government to ensure farmers enjoy much lower prices,” he added.
He commended the federal government for initiating policies that has boosted agricultural production, saying that it had particularly impacted on smallholder farmers by negotiating low prices for key constituent raw materials and logistics to local NPK blenders so that farmers can purchase the product at the fixed price of N5,500.
“Extending such support to major indigenous fertilizer companies like NOTORE will definitely reduce retail prices of fertilizers. Our strategy is wrapped around our mission to enhance the quality of life. We have been working with likeminded development agencies to not only ensure farmers get timely information on modern best farming practices, but support their economic wellbeing as well.”
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