WACOT Rice Concludes Argungu Outgrower Expansion Programme

February 20, 2024
Argungu Outgrower Expansion Programme

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

An initiative of WACOT Rice aimed at enhancing rice production in Nigeria, the Argungu Outgrower Expansion Programme (AOEP), has been concluded, the company has confirmed in a statement.

The scheme was put in place in 2020 by the subsidiary of Tropical General Investments (TGI) Group in collaboration with the USAID-funded West Africa Trade and Investment Hub.

It was to leverage WACOT’s existing outgrower programme to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers by providing access to essential agricultural inputs, financing, and training on Yield Enhancement Techniques (YET), and Good Agronomic Practices (GAP).

At the closing of the scheme on Tuesday, February 13, 2024, in Abuja, stakeholders praised WACOT for the initiative, especially for its positive results.

Aside from the provision of support to over 5,000 farmers, notable achievements of the programme include job creation, increased inclusion of youth and women, improved food security, enhanced agricultural yield, sustainable land management, and expanded access to financing, all contributing to the sustainable growth of rice production in Nigeria.

“This programme is laudable as it showcases the potential of Kebbi State. We have a history of rice farming but live in an ever-changing environment where you have to respond to issues relating to climate change and environmental challenges with sustainable, inclusive models that can work.

“This project by WACOT and USAID in Kebbi State has created a successful model that connects effort and opportunity,” the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning and former Governor of Kebbi State, Mr Atiku Bagudu, said.

The incumbent Governor of the state, Mr Nasir Idris, represented by his Chief of Staff, Mr Attahiru Maccido, echoed similar sentiments, highlighting the significant contribution of the outgrower programme to the development of Kebbi State.

“The presence of WACOT and USAID in Kebbi has helped answer various questions and address certain challenges regarding agriculture, and today, we can see over 80% success rate of the initiative.

“The partnership ending today is one that the state is missing already, and work is ongoing to replicate it in other parts of the state.

“This emphasizes the partnership between the private and the public sectors in nation-building. Kebbi state is always ready to provide an enabling environment for companies like WACOT Rice, and you would always find a decent return on investment,” he stated.

The Chairman of WACOT, Mr Farouk Gumel, thanked “our partners on this successful project,” noting that it started at a challenging time in Nigeria, in 2020, when COVID-19 was manifesting its impact.

“Despite the odds, this $10 million initiative was aimed at transforming the lives of 5,000 people over four years, and today we can see the impacts it has made,” he enthused.

On her part, the Mission Director for USAID Nigeria, Ms Melissa Jones, said, “With $1.48 million from USAID West Africa Trade Hub, WACOT Rice successfully leveraged $8.6 million of their funds, demonstrating their commitment to address the challenges faced.

Aduragbemi Omiyale

Aduragbemi Omiyale is a journalist with Business Post Nigeria, who has passion for news writing. In her leisure time, she loves to read.

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