Business Hilights
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Nigerian rice farmers closing in on Bill Gates $30bn agriculture grant

Nigerian investors in rice farming under the aegis of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RiFAN), have stepped up machinery to meet the terms and condition to access the $30 billion agricultural grant raised by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and other donor agencies for boost rice production in Africa. Grow Africa and John Kufor Foundation are other partners working to deepen rice production in the continent.

National President of the association, Alhaji Aminu Goronyo, in an interview on Wednesday, revealed that RiFAN has submitted a template that would qualify it for the grant.

He further noted that a team of experts from Geneva had met with the association on the grant, which Nigerian farmers can access as much as $600 million.

Business Hilights recalls that Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had at the September 2016 in Cote d’Ivoire forum, pledged to commit five billion dollars to the fund while OCP Africa, a fertiliser firm, pledged $150 million dollars.

Goronyo disclosed that the visit was fallout of the Green Revolution Forum tagged `New Push for Africa’s Agricultural Transformation,’ held in September 2016 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, where the fund was pledged by various agencies.

According to him, the grant would cover various rice value chains including production, processing, packaging and marketing, and would assist the country attain self sufficiency in rice production.

Goronyo added that “They said that Nigeria will get about 600 million dollars from the grant, it is going to be a partnership between RIFAN, government and the private sector”.

“There is fear around the world that hunger will take over the world particularly Africa. That is why some agencies have decided to put their monies together to make sure that enough food is grown in Africa.

“That is why they want to bring the grant to Nigeria and other African countries so that we will be part of the beneficiaries toward achieving self sufficiency, particularly in rice.

“Although rice is mainly the key crop covered by the grant, other crops are still included in the grant,’’ Goronyo averred.

While commending the prevailing CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme, RiFAN boss said it had assisted rice farmers across 26 states to improve production.