The Rice Assured Advocacy Forum (RAAF) is a national dialogue platform for the entire rice value chain actors in Nigeria. RAAF set up was facilitated by the John A. Kufuor Foundation (JAKF) during the first phase of the Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI) from June 2014 to June 2018. CARI which was implemented in Ghana, Nigeria, Burkina and Tanzania with support from the Bills and Melinda Gate Foundation and the German Development Corporation, GIZ, has 4 major objectives.
The sub objectives for the project were: Increased productivity and quality of Paddy rice based on the development of substantial and competitive rice production systems; Increased efficiency of local rice sourcing, processing and marketing through structured value chain linkages, improved technology and process management; Improved access to financial services for all value chain actors served and Enabling Policy environment for rice sector development. RAAF was established under the Policy Enabling Component for which the JAKF was responsible.
The objectives of RAAF, which currently exists across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria, are to harmonize the national rice value chain actors in Nigeria to advocate for better policies towards the development of the rice sectors in the country. It also seeks to give one voice to the rice industry and make it more competitive to the global market.
Moreover, the organization intends to deal with issues such as trade and network with other rice producing countries across the continent and share best practices. In addition, it looks forward to resolving issues within the Nigeria Rice Industry.
Objectives of RAAF
The aim for which the RAAF is form is to promote the development of the Nigerian Rice sector. Its objectives are to:
- Bring together representatives of all stakeholders in the rice sector, including farmers organizations, processors and brokers, researchers, policy makers and financial institutions, to identify, discuss and develop programmes and strategies to address common problems for the mutual benefit;
- Produce, collect, analyze and disseminate on timely basis, all kinds of information relating to rice sector (agronomic practices, research achievement, economic information, market information, etc);
- Promote and regulate the rice sector through voluntary negotiations and execution of agreements among stakeholders; then monitor the execution of inter-professional agreements between and among stakeholders;
- Provide a forum for policy development and implementation in the rice sector
- Acts as an advocacy/lobbying group on rice policy issues with the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), parliament and related agencies and their effective implementation
- Direct and streamline investments made in the rice sector for its development in collaboration with the FGN
- Conduct evidence based research to inform policy formulation.