The Prime Motivation of the Outgrower scheme is to offer improved control over supply. The Outgrower schemes was an attractive option for RIFAN to explore local market opportunities. RIFAN has a robust outgrowers’ programme, with outgrowers located around 50km radius from factories in the different states around the country. RIFAN has more than 1 million committed farmers cultivating thousands of hectares of land. There is a plan of increasing the farmers base to 2.5 million committed farmers by end 2017.
RIFAN offers the following services to her outgrowers’ Farmers:
- Tractorization: RIFAN gives support to the farmers in terms of land preparations by offering them tractors for ploughs. RIFAN has a team dedicated for this purpose.
- Provision of Inputs: Inputs such as chemicals (both systemic and contact herbicide), fertilizer, and stem cuttings are provided for the farmers in the outgrowers’ scheme.
- Linking them to bank for finance: RIFAN links farmers to banks in order to access loan to maintain their farms. This service is only provided to trusted and committed farmers.
- Extension Services: RIFAN has a robust extension team who works round the clock to supervise the farms of her farmers, provide consultancy services and trainings as needs arise and also monitor their farms
- Trust: An unbroken trust exists between RIFAN and her outgrowers’ farmers. This has been developed over the years and it has attracted many farmers to join in the largesse of the scheme. Farmers are carried along before major decisions are carried out and most of the policies of RIFAN are bottom-top approach i.e it emanates from them.
Benefits of the Outgrower’s Programme
- The Outgrower scheme has provided RIFAN with the opportunity to control supply while helping farmers improve production standards.
- Both sides have been gaining and under the current smallholder production system, contract farming appears to be the main road towards making Nigerian agriculture more market-oriented.
Linking smallholders to firms, therefore, also figures prominently on the agenda of the government and donors.
Other Notable Achievements
- RIFAN has an investment arm which, among other things seeks to establish macro-micro banks to assist farmers.
- RIFAN has plans to establish a facility to manufacture and assemble tractors, heavy duty machineries, equipment and other agricultural vehicles in Nigeria. It has applied for its automotive assembly licence with the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC).