Dan­gote rice out­grower scheme threat­ened in Ji­gawa …farm­ers de­plore de­lay in pay­ment for pro­duce

Daily Trust - - BUSINESS - From Aliyu M. Ha­m­agam, Dutse

The Dan­gote rice out­grow­ers farm­ing scheme in Ji­gawa State has ran into dif­fi­culty, can re­port.

Daily Trust

This fol­lowed long de­lays in the pay­ment of the farm­ers in­volved in the scheme af­ter their pro­duce was bought off by the Dan­gote Group of com­pa­nies at the end of har­vest­ing sea­sons.

The scheme cov­ers about 8,000 hectares of rice be­ing grown by the lo­cal farm­ers.

The af­fected farm­ers, our re­porter learnt, have started di­vert­ing their pro­duce to al­ter­na­tive mar­kets where they were paid on de­liv­ery.

The out­grow­ers al­leged that their pay­ments were at times de­layed for about five months af­ter their pro­duce must have been sup­plied to the com­pany.

Also con­trary to the ini­tial ar­range­ment, in which the farm­ers said their pro­duce would be bought at the pre­vail­ing mar­ket price, the com­pany now fixed prices for them ar­bi­trar­ily.

Ac­cord­ing to some of the out­grow­ers, for them to be able to re­main in busi­ness, it was nec­es­sary to sell their pro­duce at the open mar­ket where pay­ment was guar­an­teed, rather than to wait for Dan­gote com­pany.

One of the farm­ers, Malam Ab­dul­lahi, the Bu­lama of Waek, from Auyo Lo­cal Govern­ment Area, told Daily Trust that the long de­lay be­fore the Dan­gote com­pany pays for their pro­duce was greatly erod­ing their in­ter­est and con­fi­dence in the scheme.

“Where it takes about five months for a lo­cal farmer to get his pay­ment af­ter he had sup­plied his pro­duce, at next har­vest such farmer will look for al­ter­na­tive mar­ket where he is not only sure of prompt pay­ment but also stands a chance of ne­go­ti­at­ing for a bet­ter price,” Waek said.

He said at the be­gin­ning, the farm­ers were told that their pro­duce would be pur­chased at the pre­vail­ing mar­ket price but dur­ing the har­vest, the com­pany in­stead fixed the price for the pro­duce.

“The ma­jor im­ped­i­ment in the scheme is lack of prompt pay­ment for their pro­duce. It takes a lo­cal farmer about five months to get his money af­ter his pro­duce must have been col­lected. The com­pany dis­trib­uted the quan­tity of agro-in­put as promised but it was not enough and farm­ers had to use their money to get more else­where.

“The rice out­grow­ers’ scheme will col­lapse if de­lay in pay­ment con­tin­ues be­cause farm­ers will stop sup­ply­ing their pro­duce to the com­pany,” he said.

An­other farmer, Mo­hammed Sani, from Gu­dito vil­lage said the Dan­gote Group of com­pa­nies must im­prove on the pay­ment to farm­ers, ar­gu­ing that most farm­ers hired labour and bought other in­puts on loan, pend­ing when they re­ceive pay­ment for their sup­ply.

He added that for the scheme to be sus­tain­able, farm­ers must be car­ried along in de­ter­min­ing the price of their com­mod­ity.

“When the scheme was launched last year, they were told that the price of their pro­duce would be de­ter­mined by mar­ket forces but at har­vest, the com­pany fixed N7,500 per bag for them as against N10,000 mar­ket price then,” he al­leged.

Sani fur­ther ex­pressed fear on the sus­tain­abil­ity of the scheme if the com­pany didn’t im­prove on early sup­ply of agro-in­put to farm­ers. He said they planted for the rain­fed sea­son about a month ago, which ought to have been planted three months ago. He added that most farm­ers had to also use their money to buy fer­til­izer and pes­ti­cide ahead of the Dan­gote’s sup­ply for timely ap­pli­ca­tion.

“Prompt pay­ment mat­ters a lot. We are peas­ant farm­ers; our lives hang on what we get from the sales of our farm pro­duce. We hired labour on loan, we buy all the in­put to aug­ment the com­pany’s sup­ply on credit.

A rice farm be­long­ing to one of the out­grow­ers at Gu­dito vil­lage in Ji­gawa State

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