Component One: Agricultural Marketing Development achieved the following during the period:
1. Market opportunities assessments of rice and cassava were conducted in the six (6) States. The specific objectives were, among others, to assess the involvement of selected (identified) processors, producers and aggregators in buying and processing of fresh cassava roots and rice paddy with a view to identifying available opportunities for VCDP Market Linkages and intervention. No fewer than 176 MoUs have been signed by rice and cassava groups with off-takers and the activity is still ongoing in all the States.
2. Scoping of 18Nos. Processing Clusters and Development of Master Plans for Upgrading has been completed.
3. Formation of Producers and Processors (Off -takers) forum was achieved. A Producers, Processors Marketers, Transporters and Aggregators forum has been formed in the six (6) States leading to signing of MoUs between Producers and off-takers.
4. A Study Tour of JICA-RIPMAPP equipment demonstration in Bida, Niger State, was undertaken with all the Six SPMUs and the NPMU participating. The technology of using false bottom in rice parboiling was introduced by the Japanese. Following the Bida Study tour, another equipment demonstration was held in Lafia, Nasarawa State, to expose relevant staff on the use of large drums false bottom equipment demonstrated by the JICA RIPMAPP project.
5. A demonstration was also held for relevant staff and 18 fabricators from the States on the manufacture of false bottom. All the six States have conducted step down trainings on JICAs technology for parboiling using the False Bottom.
6. IITA has trained all the 6 participating States on Good Agronomic Practices (GAP) for Rice and Cassava, including another training on different rice and cassava processing equipment.
7. Several farmers, 18 processors, and marketers from the 6 States participated in a marketing strategy and processing demonstration at the National Centre for Agricultural Mechanization (NCAM), Ilorin, Kwara State.
8. Financial linkages have commenced with the conduct of an inaugural meeting with 9 Banks, NAIC, a financial broker and Anambra SPMU, to facilitate credit sourcing from Banks by Value Chain actors.
9. Business Plan Manual that also covers Matching Grant facilitation has been prepared and training conducted for all the six States.
10. All participating States have organized Innovation Platforms for cassava and rice farmers at which scientists (from the academia), processors, marketers, farmer organizations and other stakeholders were involved. As a result, some farmers have set up irrigation rice production schemes in these states as an innovation. These platforms also fostered strategic linkages between off-takers and farmers.
11. Partnership and collaboration meetings were held between farmers, off-takers, bankers, insurance companies, agro-dealers and VCDP staff in the participating states. Following extensive sensitization and alliance building, some groups in the states have linked different groups with financial and credit institutions to ease access to agricultural credit.
12. Needs assessments were carried out for six processing centres in each State earmarked for upgrading and model designs for each state. The states are at various stages of advertising, bidding and award of contracts for construction and equipping these centres.
13. In a bid to boost value addition and quality enhancement, the NPMU organized a training of trainers (ToT) for NPMU and SPMU staff on the use of False-bottom technology in rice parboiling for eventual step down in the states. This training was stepped down by the SPMUs in their various states.
14. An inventory of existing infrastructure along the value chain (roads, markets, processing facilities and boreholes) was taken in all the program states
15. In the area of roads and land development, the VCDP recorded sterling achievements across the six participating States. A total of 180km of farm roads are at various stages of completion, while 1,200ha of land have been developed across the six states for distribution to various farmer organizations.
16. Irrigation sites covering 1,515 ha across the six programme states have been identified for development. The Designs have been concluded and sent to IFAD for review and approval before further necessary action and award of contracts.