Improving agriculture, improving livelihoods
Rice is a staple food for over 50% of the world’s people, and the demand for rice is set to increase in line with population growth. Innovation in rice farming is therefore essential. We have introduced a fully mechanised large-scale rice farm in Nigeria that produces 2 crops a year, attached to a rice mill with a processing capacity of 70,000 tonnes. This farm acts as a centre for improving rice productivity, and also as a vocational training hub to train 4,400 smallholders in the nearby communities. Our rice mill then provides access to the value chain, improving local livelihoods.
Through R&D, we have also developed advanced agronomic practices catered to the African growing climate, and have achieved a doubling overall farm yields from 1.5 to almost 4 tonnes per hectare per season, together with better land utilisation and more rice-farming employment. Building strong relationships with the right partners to source better inputs, and creating comprehensive planting and irrigation training programmes, also improves the productivity of the farmers in our outgrower initiatives.
In 2013, The Rockefeller Foundation highlighted the rice farm as a “catalytic innovation in African agriculture”. Read more here.