VCDP Partnership with Olam Transformed My Life- Chia

Mrs Chianan Chia is a widow with two children. She lives in Taraku, Gwer East Local government area of Benue State. For a widow with two children, life was difficult for the family as the responsibility to cater for the welfare of her family was huge. Due to severe hardship and paucity of funds, Chianan could only cultivate 0.3 hectares of land; the resultant effect was that her production output was very low and general livelihood of the family was poor. Feeding and school fees for the children was difficult.

Through IFAD-VCDP intervention on land development in 2017, Madam Chia was able to access and cultivate 2 hectares of land. She was also linked to Olam to offtake her produce. Olam provided Chianan with necessary inputs; certified seeds, fertilizers, and agrochemicals with guaranteed “buy back” at prevailing market price at the end of the season. Olam also co-funded extension services using private sector providers to ensure she meets productivity potentials of the preferred rice varieties. In addition, Olam provided her with financial credit to meet her equity contribution in the VCDP matching grant scheme through a commercial bank in Nigeria.

Chianan doubled her yields from 1.5 tons/ha to 4 tons/ha at harvest and Olam bought the entire paddy produced by her and her group-Mbakyaan Rice Producers Cooperative. She made an income of N880,000 thousand naira ($2,423 USD) from the sale of her paddy rice to Olam. This translated into huge revenue and financial stability for Chianan and her family.

Consequently, Chianan had enough money to cater for most of her pressing needs and that of her children. She has been able to build a two bedroom house and no longer have challenges with her children’s school fees. The linkage to Olam has impacted greatly in her life. From 0.3 hectares, Chianan now cultivates 3.2 hectares of rice. Her projected production output is expected to be 6 tons/ha of rice for 2018 wet season which is due for harvest early December, 2018.

In excitement, Chianan has this to say… “When I lost my husband, I lost everything. Without any formal education; I was left alone, exposed and confused with my kids who barely knew how to talk. But they are in school now; we are fine, very fine to add. I have built a small house, my kids are going to school, I am doing fine and better. Looking back, I am a “big woman” now. There are a lot of opportunities that I have now, I can do business, buy and sell and make more money. The future is bright for us, especially my children, I know they will do better than we ever did but if they end up as farmers I am sure they will be very comfortable especially, with the knowledge I now have. Just last year I made N671,000, this year will be better. VCDP is the angel sent by my late husband to wipe tears off my cheeks………….. Look at me who could barely feed and pay my children’s school fees, I am now the proud owner of a two (2) bedroom house and my children now attend one of the best schools in Taraku. IFAD-VCDP has taken away the shame poverty rubbed on me and my family. I thank God for using IFAD-VCDP intervention as the instrument to wipe my tears away and restore my dignity as a mother to my children. I am very grateful to VCDP for the linkage to Olam. Before, I use to worry on how I am going to sell my produce after harvest, but now no worries, Olam is there for us”

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