Record keeping, business planning and connection to financial institutions have all been strengthened for 3,500 farming organisations. To date, 3,292 purchase agreements have been signed between individual farmers’ organisations and major buyers. Additional produce aggregation centers, or storage facilities, have been either constructed or rehabilitated, which has reduced post-harvest losses by 70 percent.
Since VCDP’s inception, farmers have produced and marketed over 450,000 metric tons of rice. The spike in demand for local rice and cassava products has had the knock-on effect of stimulating new and attractive job opportunities in production, processing and marketing for young people and women in rural communities. In fact, women represent 40% of the VCDP beneficiaries, which is significant given the resource constraints are often even bigger for them.
Participating farmers have seen their rice yields increase by 125% - from less than 2 MT/ha to an average of 4.5 MT/ha - while cassava yields have grown by 66%. 70% of the 45,000 participating smallholders, processors and marketers are now linked to buyers and have guaranteed access to markets for their produce, resulting in them doubling their agricultural income. In three years, roughly $137.5 million from sales was deposited in the bank accounts of these farmers.
Looking at industry-wide changes, it has been encouraging to see more smallholder farmers partnering and securing long-term deals with national and international agri-businesses. This is a step change for many farmers from the previous supply-driven market and has allowed them to move away from subsistence farming into commercial agriculture.
The collaboration under VCDP brings mutual benefits – providing rice smallholders in Nigeria with support, allowing them to be more productive means they increase their incomes, while consistent and high-quality supplies of rice are making a significant contribution to national priorities on import substitution and food security.