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FARMERS’ BASED APEX ORGANIZATION: KEY FOR AGRICULTURAL NETWORKING, SYSTEMS/PRACTICES TRANSFORMATION.

INTRODUCTION

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.

UTM_APEX_STRUCTURE
APEX STRUCTURAL FORMATION

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
  • Treasurer
  • Market Intelligent Officer
  • Auditor
  • 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.

 

Activities, Agri-business, Animal Production, Blog, Farming, Fisheries, Programs

UTM Extension service Delivery (UXD)

Despite the common belief that Nigeria is not ready for privatized extension services due to the public goods nature of such services provided to date and the limited means of smallholder farmers, a number of development initiatives are paving the way for privatized extension.

Our approach also analyses the frameworks and models – farmers’ associations, out growers’ schemes, commodity alliance models, business partnership model and public–private partnerships– which power these initiatives. We analyze how the experiences of these frameworks and models could be harnessed to improve extension service delivery. We also highlight the role of non-governmental organizations. A case is made for more professionalism in extension work, deepening and broadening extension activities to include post-harvest handling, marketing and policy advocacy. This business analysis concludes that with proper calculation and appropriate policy support, the privatization of extension service delivery in Nigeria could be very effective and profitable to all stakeholders.

Activities, Agri-business, Blog, Farming, Programs

Human Resource Development, Training and Consultancy

The UTM aims to foster local human resources by improving the skills and expanding the influence of agricultural manpower. The UTM collaborates with both national and international certifying agencies provide modern extension workers with strong theoretical knowledge and meaningful hands-on experience to address pressing needs of farmers through a co-coordinating an ‘Integrated Knowledge System’ that links farmers to extension agents through SMS, calls and research farm visits. This approach increases the response rate in addressing farmer needs, sharing innovations and business opportunities along the value chains and combating diseases outbreaks.

 

Activities, Agri-business, Blog, Farming, Programs

Public Private Partnership and Market Access

The Universal Treasures Mines (UTM) programs assists farmers who are unable to access agricultural inputs according to the limited resources small-scale farmers possess and helps small-scale producers by organizing farmers associations to bundle the products of multiple farms together for sale to high-volume buyers through collective marketing. This goal involves a multifaceted approach to marketing and branding for producers to increase profits and boost productivity of farmers.

Activities, Agri-business, Programs

Post-Harvest and Agro-Processing Efforts

 

In order to decrease post-harvest losses, the Universal Treasures Mines (UTM) promotes mechanized processing and improved storage

techniques and technologies. The goal is to produce processed goods of sufficient quality to market. We liaise with Equipment manufacturing companies to produce low cost-machinery that are modeled according to farmers’ specifications and tropical environmental conditions. The farmers will also receive adequate trainings on proper use and maintenance of these technologies.

 

Activities, Agri-business, Animal Production, Blog, Farming, Programs

Crop And Animal Productivity Enhancement

 

In order to improve productivity and increase yields, the Universal Treasures Mines (UTM) makes use of research demonstration plots to share cultivation skills and latest agricultural technologies, improved animal husbandry & breeding techniques, including enhanced seeds or breeds and organic fertilizer, hydroponics etc. through collaboration with National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) like research institutes, agro-companies, faculties and universities of agriculture, colleges and polytechnics of agriculture.