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In support of the Federal Government’s drive to attain self-sufficiency in rice production, an initiative to support paddy aggregation centres called the Nigeria Paddy Aggregation Centres Strengthening (NPACS) Project has been launched in Abuja by Commodity Development Initiative (CDI) – an agricultural development and agribusiness investment facilitation organisation based in Abuja.
The project, the stakeholders said, has the potential to positively impact on the productivity of paddy smallholders through knowledge transfer and access to improved inputs over time.
Following the launch, NPACS Project alongside its partners has concluded plans to host the first Niger State Paddy Aggregation Centres Owners and Managers Consultative Forum in Minna on Wednesday, May 8.
Roland Oroh, the project director of the NPACS, said in a statement on Monday that the project was a donor funded initiative that sought to support start-up, management and operational capacity of Paddy Aggregation Centres in country.
According to Oroh, the Minna Consultative Forum will seek to: establish needs of paddy/grains aggregation centre owners in engaging better with farmers to increase production and productivity of paddy rice; establish the management and operational challenges the existing centres have and how to resolve them ; and to present the proposed activities of the NPACS project to Niger State stakeholders and formally launch the project in the state and get their buy-in. Potential private investors in paddy/grains aggregation centres in Niger State are encouraged to attend.
“Niger State being a significant producer of paddy rice in the country but with limited private sector driven paddy rice aggregation ecosystem is naturally a good location to kick off the NPACS intervention model and we look forward to engaging with local stakeholders and investors in the State,” Oroh said.
“This project and this consultative forum will support IFAD’s Rice value chain engagement and support for small holder farmers in Niger State and we are excited to be part of this, through our support”, says Matthew Ahmed, IFAD’s Value Chain Development Programme Coordinator for Niger State.
About 30 invited stakeholders are expected to be in attendance. Capacity strengthening and operational support measures will be unveiled and implemented after the consultative forum with donor assistance.
The Niger State government through the Ministry of Agriculture and AGRA are supporting the consultative forum.