Owning to the fact that individual rice farmers in Benue state face challenges such as multiple taxation, lack of representation at vital decision making forums that majorly concern them, lack of market intelligence and a host of other pathetic issues. An intervention facilitated by Universal Treasures Mines Ltd (UTM) sponsored by International Fertilizer Development Center – Towards Sustainable Clusters in Agribusiness through Earning and Entrepreneurship (IFDC – 2SCALE) project on group formation and dynamics and Coaching on farmers’ organization apex body formation in four (4) different Local Government Areas (Guma, Makurdi, Tarka, Kwande) in Benue state.
This was aimed at creating opportunities for Farmer Organizations (FO’s) to develop networks towards Apex Organization; this Apex Organization will serve as mouthpiece of the FOs and represent their interest at business, marketing and trading platforms, also at national and even international forum. The Apex is also expected to provide a platform for the provision of promotional and advisory services and become the conduit for advocacy with collaborators including marketers, transporters, input companies, extension service providers, off takers, major and local processors etc.
Apex Networks are necessary to enable FOs take advantage of the economies of scale in numbers. Apex as farmer association networks, FOs become a civil society force at various levels of decision making that allows them to bring their specific issues to policy makers both within the private and public sectors
After receiving the training and coaching as facilitated by UTM, all the farmer organizations at the four (4) locations saw the need to unite and form an apex body to enable them to attain and achieve levels and things they found difficult as ordinary FOs.
The first step to achieving this ultimate goal was to setup a structure for representation. The farmer organizations were grouped into zones, the zones grouped into LGA clusters, the LGA clusters then formed the membership of the State Apex called the Federation of Benue Rice Farmers.
Executive officers have long been elected and inaugurated to coordinate and manage the affairs of the organization and drive them towards their vision.
The Executive Positions includes;
- The Chairman
- Vice Chairman
- General Secretary
- Assistant General Secretary
- Market Intelligent Officer
- Public Relations Officer
- Assistant Public Relations Officer
The Apex Body has held its first congress meeting, which was hosted by the Kwande Rice Cluster.
This can be replicated for other agricultural commodities and at different locations.