The USAID-funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub (Trade Hub) has awarded a $499,000 grant to Nigerian-based REMIF REMS Nigeria Ltd, a major agro-based service provider in Nigeria. The aim of the co-investment partnership is to improve food security and health safety measures for farmers in the southern region of Nigeria.
In Nigeria, rice is a major staple food that is used in dishes of every kind, with about 7.1 million metric tons consumed per year. However, the production of rice for domestic consumption in the country suffered a major setback because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Farmers experienced a country lockdown in the middle of the planting season, resulting in job loss, failure to meet market demand, and increased hunger. The situation has been particularly dire in Nigeria’s Ebonyi and Cross River states, where the paddy rice supply was already failing to meet demand.
The Trade Hub partnership will enable REMIF REMS to mobilize 3,000 contract paddy rice farmers in Ebonyi and Cross River states and provide them with farm inputs such as fertilizers, rice seeds, insecticides, and simple thrashers. These farmers will support the direct production of 30,000 metric tons of clean paddy rice on 3,000 hectares of farmland that will be provided by REMIF REMS. The yields produced will be supplied to seven small-scale rice processors in Ebonyi Rice Mill and one medium-scale processor in Cross River state, increasing the supply to many markets and households across the southern region. COVID-19 training and mitigation measures will also be put in place to protect farmers.
“We are hoping to stimulate a ‘back to land’ drive that will increases production and prioritizes the safety of all project stakeholders—not only the rice farmers but their families and community at large,” said Professor Geraldine, Managing Director for REMIF REMS. “One key thing that this partnership will help us achieve is increased sales of paddy rice locally.”
Through this co-investment partnership, REMIF REMS will enable a 10% increase in the contract farmers’ incomes, and over the next 2 years, it will indirectly improve the livelihood of more than 12,000 people in the southern region. It will also create at least 300 new jobs, with 50% specifically set aside for women and youth. REMIF REMS expects to achieve at least $17.6 million in total paddy rice sales to processers/off-takers over the life of the project, and $22 million in total sales of rice products processed, packaged, and distributed by the eight processors.
The Trade Hub/REMIF REMS co-investment partnership is one of many formed under the Trade Hub’s COVID-19 rapid response initiative to counter the negative impact the pandemic has had on West African small and medium-sized enterprises. It also supports the U.S Government’s Feed the Future initiative to improve food security and nutrition in Nigeria.
“Though it is uncertain when the pandemic will end, demand for food has remained constant among millions of Nigerians,” says Michael Clements, Trade Hub’s Chief of Party. “The Trade Hub is excited to launch another co-investment project that improves food security in the country while boosting farmers’ incomes, creating new jobs, and showing how private sector investment has a key role to play in development.”
About West Africa Trade & Investment Hub: The West Africa Trade & Investment Hub (Trade Hub) is a USAID-funded initiative that catalyzes economic growth through co-investing with the private sector to generate new investment, create new jobs, and increase the value of regional and international exports in West Africa.
About USAID: The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the lead U.S.
Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential.
About Feed the Future: The Feed the Future initiative is the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. It works to give families and communities in some of the world’s poorest countries the freedom and opportunity to lift themselves out of food insecurity and malnutrition.
About REMIF REMS: REMIF REMS Nigeria Ltd is an agro-based firm offering professional services to government and non-governmental agencies, public and private sector institutions, and international organizations in the areas of data analyses, manpower development, research, business development, and extension service delivery.