The Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI), a Non Governmental Organization has inaugurated a rice ‘supermarket’ at Amasiri, Afikpo North Local Government Area (LGA) of Ebonyi.
The initiative is powered by the John Kuffuor (former President of Ghana) foundation, which aims at increasing the income of local farmers above poverty line.
Mr. Joe Sagoe, representative of the John Kuffour foundation, said at the occasion that the supermarket would be supplying farm seedlings such as rice, agro-chemicals, farm machineries to rural farmers.“We would extend the farm market to other parts of the state where there is land mass for rice farming presently and in the future.
I therefore urge the farmers to access the agro inputs, chemicals, machinery, among others from the supermarket which is presently near to them.
The programme is presently four years old in Nigeria and cannot be established in crisis-ridden areas, which should make the farmers to promote peace and love in their areas,” he said.
He noted that CARI targets over 90, 000 farmers to be engaged in inclusive business models increase yields from an average of 1.5 metric tonnes per hectare to six metric tonnes.
According to him, CARI aims at optimizing and expanding sustainable business models to encourage the integration of small-scale rice producers.“It also aims at reducing importation and increasing exportation of rice paddy.
CARI’s technical and financial assistance relied on the value chain approach to promote high quality and quantitative rice production,” he said.
Musa Sumaila, an Official of the Nigerian Tractors Owners and Hiring-Facilities Association, noted that if mechanized farming is not enhanced, Ebonyi rice farmers might not be able to meet up with consumers’ demands.“The land mass of Ebonyi since its creation is not increasing but its population is increasing, which should make rice farmers access CARI products. This is to ensure availability of food for the people as we would soon deploy tractors to the state depending on the farmers’ demands,” he said.
Mr. Daniel Ukwoma, a director at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in Ebonyi, commended the CARI team for including the state among those that would benefit from the gesture.
Ukwuoma, represented by Mr. Amadi Agwu, noted that Ebonyi farmers are hard working, saying that the establishment of the supermarket would go a long way to increase farmers’ yields.
Mrs. Emmanuela Anya, a farmer in the area, thanked CARI for the initiative, noting that it would solve their problems of accessing farm inputs and machinery.