IFDC Completes a Successful Nigerian Project to Enable Input Access for Farmers
Between October 2014 and October 2017, IFDC’s Feed the Future Nigeria Agro-Inputs Project helped farmers access high quality and affordable inputs by developing the private sector-led agricultural inputs market. Funded by USAID, the aim of the project was to help increase the agricultural productivity of Nigerian smallholder farmers.
The project worked with the Nigerian Federal and State Governments, agro-input companies, microfinance institutions and development partner projects to build the technical and entrepreneurial capacities of downstream agro-inputs dealers and introduce smallholder farmers to productivity-enhancing technologies.
Over 1,500 agro-dealers in eight different Nigerian states were trained and certified in product knowledge and business management, with the dealer networks also expanded to include women, youth and other vulnerable groups in rural areas. The agro-dealers were also linked with financial institutions and end markets, helping them to make new investments worth an estimated $500,000.
Working with microfinance institutions to increase access to finance, the project helped smallholder farmers move from subsistence to profit making. During its course, 60% of targeted beneficiary farmers accessed finance, resulting in a greater use of agro-inputs and improved technologies.
To sustainably improve production, the project promoted enhanced productivity technologies such as Fertilizer Blend-Urea Deep Placement (FB-UDP) and micronutrient added fertilizer blends, alongside best agronomic practices, with an 80% uptake among participating farmers so far.
A “New-Generation Agro-Input Dealer-Focused Input Supply and Extension Advisory Services” model was also designed to ensure sustainability. 50 pilot dealers were selected in the eight states due to their proximity to farmers and trained to build farmers’ capacity and serve as focal points for technological interventions, extension agents, produce off takers, financial institutions and farm equipment suppliers. So far, these dealers have supported 189 farmer groups involving 4,118 farmers in the cassava, maize, rice and sorghum value chains.