There are many government grants for rice farming in Nigeria due to the priority government has placed on economic diversification through agriculture. Among other things, rice farming has become very attractive. It is no longer old people’s chore. The owner of the second largest rice farm in Nigeria is just 36 years old and there are lots more coming up everyday. To encourage this trend, many facilities are put in place to give funding and support to aspiring and existing rice farmers in Nigeria. One of them is the FADAMA III AF project. An article in the Guardian Nigeria puts it like this:
…the World Bank, through FADAMA, identified rice as a priority staple food for support under the $200 million FADAMA III Additional Financing (AF), which is aimed, among others, at ramping up production and increasing income of farmers operating within the catchment of the selected States and other production areas engaged in priority staple foods, namely rice, cassava, sorghum, and horticulture in Kogi, Kano, Lagos, Niger, Enugu and Anambra states. (Source)
Rice is a priority staple food in many countries including Nigeria. Among the many profitable opportunities in the agriculture sector, rice farming is one of the most lucrative. In an interview with Channels Television on the 22nd of August, 2014, the then Minister of Agriculture, Mr Akinwumi Adeshina, had this to say about the prospects of rice farming in Nigeria:
If you are looking to invest in Nigeria, the largest Economy in Africa, you should consider rice farming which is the most profitable in the Agriculture sector…It is the most profitable thing that anyone can be doing in Nigeria today…That is because the population is rising and people are consuming more rice…Nigeria Agriculture has changed and that is why the big names are coming in. They realized that it is a big money making enterprise. There is a role for everybody, the small the medium and the large. Despite the increase in the production of rice, there is still a shortage of supply, as rice is a staple food that most Nigerians eat. (Source)
So what is FADAMA III AF?
This is a World Bank assisted project that covers the thirty-six states in the country and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The project targets subsistent farmers, the rural poor, pastoralists, fisher folks, processors, hunters, gatherers and other economic interest groups in the Agricultural Value Chain. The beneficiaries are encouraged to organize themselves in economic interest groups called Fadama User Groups (FUGs) and further form Fadama Community Association (FCAs) roughly within areas of political wards. The goal of the Project is to sustainably increase the income of land and water users. (Source)
Some of the categories for funding under this project are listed below:
- Mechanization (50%)
- Input support (50%)
- Training (100%) and advisory services (90%)
- Infrastructure like threshers/on-farm processing machines (70%)
- Access roads that are 100% on the project. Where there is aggregation (cluster) of groups within a particular place, the project provides access roads to evacuate the produce from the farm. Irrigation
How to get government grants for rice farming through the FADAMA III AF project
To qualify for and access this grant, here are some of the requirements:
1. Register a cooperative society
A cooperative society is any 10 or more persons who wish to associate themselves together with the aim of the promoting the economic interests of its members. The cooperative must consist of real persons and should have a cooperative bank account. Here is how to register a cooperative society in Nigeria.
2. Get a land title
Each member of the cooperative society must have a hectare (100×100) of land with a land title. If it is a community land, you must show that the community has given you access to farm on that piece of land. This is easier than it sounds, though. When you approach FADAMA, they have community facilitators that know where these lands are and how to make them available to you.
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3. Have a detailed business plan
You need a business plan to show profitability. The business plan would specify whether the business is practical, expenses analysis, yield, and revenue. The community facilitator can also help you draft the business plan because they have been long in the system and can juggle the numbers and statistics for you. Once that business plan is approved, the cooperative would be funded according to what is on the business plan. You don’t give back anything to the project. It is a grant, not a loan. Whatever you get at the end is yours to invest back into the farming at the end of the season.
Once you get all these, you are in business. You must note, however, that FADAMA does not support one season farmers for obvious reasons. The project is to encourage long-term, serious farmers. Some people might be thinking of getting the grants and taking off at the end of the day. This is not going to fly. To your success!