The Kogi state chapter of Small Holder Women Farmers Organisation of Nigeria (SHOWFON) has entered into an agreement with the state government and Synergos Nigeria on rice production.
The state Coordinator of SHOWFON, Hajiya Safiya Yahaya, who disclosed this in an interaction with journalists on Friday in Lokoja, said that the deal would cover rice milling, packaging and marketing.
Yahaya said that under the agreement, the Kogi State Agricultural Development Project (ADP) would be in delcharge of the rice milling machines acquired by the state government, while Synergos Nigeria would handle the rice packaging aspect.
She said that the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), which visited the site of the mill, had approved its operations, adding that by end of June, the SHOWFON-packaged rice would be in the market.
Yahaya said that through the venture, women rice farmers in the state would be empowered, adding that the women farmers hitherto struggled to get buyers for their produce.
“This time around, the women rice farmers will convey their harvested paddy to the mill where it will be milled, packaged and sold; the women farmers would get paid for their produce immediately,’’ she said.
She said that over 500 SHOWFON members from the 12 local government areas of the state, who were participating in the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), had been assisted with machines, herbicides, fertilisers, improved rice seeds and cash under the programme.
She said that the SHOWFON members had constituted the largest number of beneficiaries of ABP, under the aegis of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN).
Besides, Yahaya said that the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) had set aside about N12 million for the “garri’’ processing project of SHOWFON in the state.
She said that the funds were being channelled to SHOWFON through a micro-finance bank in Abuja and before long, members of the association would be able to access the funds meant for the execution of the project.