FG to launch 10MW wind farm in Katsina

Source: Nairametrics

The Federal Government has confirmed the completion of a 10MW Wind farm which would the first of its kind in Nigeria to be launched in Katsina State later this month.

This was disclosed by Bashir Ahmad, the Personal Assistant on New Media to President Muhammadu Buhari, in a statement on Monday.

“The 10MW Wind Farm Project in Katsina has been completed by President Buhari Administration and will be commissioned later this month, the Ministry of Power has said”

” The Project will improve electricity and boost economy in Katsina and its environs,” he said.

The Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman confirmed that the 10MW Katsina Wind Farm Project set for commissioning  has 37 up and functioning turbines and part of the FG’s efforts towards investing in renewable energy.

What you should know 

  • Recall Nairametrics reported that Panelists at the 2021 UK Africa Investment Summit event  said that renewable energy will be a critical driver of Africa’s post-COVID-19 growth recovery and economic prosperity – calling for a stronger partnership between the United Kingdom and Africa.
  • The Federal Government also launched a One-Stop Investment Platform (OSIP) for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Investments in Nigeria. The OSIP platform serves as a hub for up-to-date information and opportunities in the Nigerian Power Sector. This allows stakeholders to have access to information on how best to do business in the renewable energy industry

Benin Republic Seeks FG’s Collaboration On Rice Production

Source: Channels TV

The Government of the Benin Republic on Tuesday approached President Muhammadu Buhari to seek Nigeria’s assistance in the production of rice in the country.

The country sent in a delegation of officials who met with the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari at the State House to tap from Nigeria’s experience in reviving rice production.

The Benenoise delegation led by the country’s minister of agriculture, Gaston Cossi Dossouhoui, was led to the presidential villa by Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State and the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed.

Speaking to correspondents after the meeting, the Kebbi Governor, Abubakar Bagudu, explained that the delegation and Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria met with the Chief of Staff to advance ongoing talks between the two countries on how to replicate Nigeria’s rice farming programme in the Benin Republic.

“Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria met with the chief of staff to the President to progress the discussion which has been going on between them and the Benin Republic for the two countries to replicate the success of Nigeria’s rice farming programme in Benin so that we can stop rice importation in West Africa.

“This is a partnership within the framework of ECOWAS agreement and the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement and our brotherly relationship between President Muhammadu Buhari and President Patrice Tallon who have the safe vision that we can be greater together,” Bagudu said.

Firm Harps on Tech Solutions to Enhance Agriculture

Source: This Day

Afrimash Limited, an indigenous eCommerce firm based in Ibadan, Oyo State, has stressed the importance of robust technology solutions in enhancing food security and production in the agricultural sector.

The firm said the application of the right technology solutions would help Nigerian farmers get the best inputs such as equipment, livestock, seedlings, fertilizers, and quality vaccines that would enable them to increase food production while making agriculture convenient.

Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder, Afrimash Limited, Ahmed Ayoade Oyedotun, said the company had been engaging farmers designed fintech the last four years.

He said: “Afrimash runs an eCommerce platform, or farmers to access quality inputs from verified farm input suppliers. Using our online platform, farmers get quick and convenient access to a variety of inputs, place their orders online, and receive their farm inputs delivered to their locations across Nigeria. We run a system that ensures farmers can shop online with peace of mind. In the past four years, we have been offering agriculture-based eCommerce services via our platform where farmers can get tools, and other agricultural inputs.”

He said although access to quality inputs remained one of the biggest challenges that farmers face in Nigerian and Africa, Afrimash would continue to bridge the gap using technology.

“Today, quite a number of farmers have internet access and we leverage on the ever-increasing internet penetration rate in Nigeria. This guarantees us of consistent increase in the number of people that can access our eCommerce site. Aside from internet penetration, the GSM penetration rate in Nigeria is high and constantly growing. This means that farmers who do not have internet access will have feature phones to make phone calls. So, we have developed a hybrid system that makes it easy for farmers to buy even without the internet through our dedicated shopping assistants that farmers can call, using their feature phones,” Oyedotun said.
On the market acceptability, Oyedotun noted that over the years, farmers had come to believe and have confidence in them, which he said, transcended to higher patronage.

Speaking of patronage and market acceptability, the Senior Lead Communication Executive of Afrimash Limited, Eshett Goodness Mfonobong, said: “When we started in 2016, a lot of pessimists said that farmers were not online, but we have since realised that they were wrong because a lot of our customers come through referral. We have lots of referrals because we made shopping easier for them while ensuring that we have quality products delivered to these farmers. The market and the farmers have come to accept us over the years for what we stand for which is quality and convenience.”

The firm called on government and financiers to partner with farmers for increased food production and security in the country.

“We have an overriding goal of making agriculture convenient for farmers by connecting farmers with quality inputs and products. This has been Afrimash focus since we started in 2016 and today, we have about 20,000 farmers as clients and customers,” Oyedotun added.

FG to increase agric extension workforce to 75,000

Source: Vanguard News Nigeria

The Federal Government has disclosed moves to increase agricultural extension workforce to 75,000 along various value chains towards efficient food production and self-sufficiency in line with global best practices.

This was made known by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. Mohammad Nanono, while flagging off the training of the extension agents in the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory, FCT, holding in all the 37 Headquarters of the State Agricultural Projects, ADPs.

Nanono who expressed worry over the declining fortunes of the agricultural extension system said was traceable to decreased funding. policy changes, reduced man-power and lack of interest of young people in agricultural entreneurship, which had adversely affected food production and have exposed the country to the dangers of unemployment, youth restiveness, and economic instability.

He also explained that the training is one of several strategies planned by his Ministry to halt the drift in the agricultural extension system with aim of pursuing the “revitalization agenda of the Nigerian economy by the Federal Government.”

He said: “At the inception of this administration, a special committee on the ‘Revitalization of Agricultural Extension Service in Nigeria’ was constituted to, among others, recommend appropriate institutional structures, arrangements and capacity building for the delivery of effective and efficient pluralistic agricultural extension and advisory services in Nigeria using globally acceptable approaches and platforms.

“One of the key recommendations was to build the capacity of youth and existing practitioners in agricultural extension delivery system, exposing and equipping them with best global practices and tools to enable them to deliver with efficiency.

“We are taking off in Abuja and all other states in the federation will do the same and they will continue until we achieve our target of 75,000 extension workers over a period of three years.

“We are already at 45,000 extension workers both government and the private. And I think our target is achievable. Most people especially youths take agriculture as not important but you eat and must remember that somebody is producing these crops and we must enable him with agriculture facilities.

“So it is very important that the pioneers in the extension service training take this training seriously and strive also to become farmers, you will be extension workers but in the process become farmers.

“Agriculture is now becoming more attractive and youth makes up about 75 per cent of our population and therefore if we are going to move forward the youth must make sacrifices and the government must empower youth to go into agriculture and that’s what we are set to do.

“So I am hoping that this is the beginning of a new era in the development of extension service in this country.”

However, the Minister acknowledged and said that “Our problem is that the people are poor at heart, disorganized and being disturbed by politics. We need to organize ourselves and be focused to salvage agriculture in this country to develop this nation.

He also lamented the rejection of beans from Nigeria by the European Union who banned the commodity from entering member countries as a result of chemicals applied in the preservation of the commodity.

“Over the last two years have been banned from the export of red beans which is a very good market because the level of application of chemicals in our crop which is considered high for human consumption and why because we have no extension workers to guide the farmers”, he stated.

NSIA signs agreements with NNPC, others to develop $1.4 billion fertilizer plant

Source: Nairametrics

The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) has signed pacts with the OCP of Morocco, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and some parties for the development of a $1.4 billion plant to produce Ammonia and Diammonium Phosphate.

Other parties to the agreement are the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board (NCDMB), GACN (Gas Aggregation Company Nigeria Limited), Akwa Ibom State Government, the Fertilizer Producers & Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN) and Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN).

This was disclosed by NSIA via a statement issued on Wednesday and seen by Nairametrics.

Here are 5 agreements executed:

  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), OCP Africa and the Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN) to commit to the second phase of the Nigerian Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI II).
  • A Shareholders Agreement (SHA) between the NSIA and OCP Africa for the creation of the Joint Venture Company (JVC) which will oversee the development of an industrial platform that will produce ammonia and fertilizers in Nigeria.
  • An MOU between NSIA, OCP Africa and the Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria on land acquisition, administrative facilitation, and common agricultural development projects in the Akwa Ibom State.
  • An MOU between NSIA, OCP Africa, and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), to evaluate the opportunity of an equity investment by the NNPC in the JVC and for its support on gas.
  • A Framework Agreement between NSIA, OCP Africa, Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN), the NNPC and the Gas Aggregation Company Nigeria (GACN) on gas supply for the MPI

On the development, Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum and head of the Nigerian delegation said, “President Buhari is very committed to actualisation of this project. He has mandated the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and all its agencies, notably the NNPC, DPR, NCDMB and all other government agencies to give maximum support for this project.”

Chairman and CEO of OCP, Dr. Terrab said, “Ultimately, these agreements will strengthen the partnership between the NSIA and OCP Group and the different institutions in the gas industry in Nigeria.

“The outcome of the agreements will translate to knowledge transfer and broader economic opportunities as we build out the industrial platform. The platform will leverage the best of Nigerian and Moroccan natural resources, namely the Nigerian gas and the Moroccan phosphate and create a new basis for stronger ties.”

Uche Orji, CEO, NSIA said, “The project forms a key part of NSIA’s gas industrialisation strategy and will deepen intra-continental trade which is essential to Africa’s development and economic renaissance.

“The project will explore increased levels of synergy between NSIA and OCP and the partners to the transactions and ultimately ensure that Nigeria builds an industrial base that is sustainable and complementary to mutual objectives of developing the agriculture sector in Nigeria.”

What it means

  • The first two agreements relate to the second phase of the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative (PFI II), while the last three contracts underpin the creation of a Multipurpose Industrial Platform (MPI) to be sited in Akwa Ibom State.
  • The agreements on the second phase of the PFI give effect to the presidential directive, which has restructured the PFI programme. Under the revised structure, NSIA’s role moves upstream thereby limiting its involvement to bulk importation of raw materials on behalf of the fertilizer blenders, with bank guarantees provided by the blenders.
  • This approach, according to NSIA, will make the programme more sustainable, strengthen the productive capacity of the blending plants and eliminate financial risk to the NSIA.
  • Agreements are expected to cement the joint resolve of President Muhammadu Buhari and His Majesty, King Mohamed VI, King of Morocco to develop a Multipurpose Industrial Platform project in Nigeria.


Nigerian institute calls for more investment in irrigation farming to ramp up production

Source: www.xinhuanet.xom

The National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), one of Nigeria’s agricultural research institutes on Thursday called on the government to scale up investment in irrigation farming to ramp up agricultural production and avert food crises.

Speaking at a press conference in Kaduna state, north Nigeria, Emmanuel Ikani, executive director for the institute responsible for the development, collation, evaluation and dissemination of proven agricultural innovations in the country, said the investment would increase production.

He said it has become imperative to abandon the idea of farming only during the rainy season which could not continue to avert the negative challenge.

The expert told reporters that elsewhere there was nothing like farming in the rainy season alone.

“Our agriculture is still rain-fed, but we have the facility and water resources all over the country for irrigation,” he said.

Ikani appealed for a strong political will to move water from rivers and streams to farms.

He also regretted that many farmers in the northeast, parts of northwest and north-central could not go to their farms due to insecurity.

“Farmers are endangered at the moment which is a hint to a looming scarcity of food in Nigeria,” Ikani warned.

Doyin Salami, chairman of the presidential Economic Advisory Council, told a virtual national economic outlook event in January that Nigeria’s national import of food amounted to 1.85 trillion naira (about 4.9 billion U.S. dollars) between January and September in 2020, a 62 percent increase when compared to the same period in 2019. Enditem

Cassava stem demand exceeds N10b, partners harp on integration

Source: The Guardian

Efforts to develop cassava seed system would help Nigeria to transform cassava and meet the growing demand for cassava seeds of about N10 billion from growers, experts from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) and National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) have said.

In 2020, the Central Bank of Nigeria-midwifed a programme to develop cassava seed growers on 100,000 hectares across the country, created a huge demand for improved and disease-free planting materials that surpassed supply.

“Last year, the demand for certified cassava stems from cassava growers was estimated at N10 billion. Unfortunately, this opportunity was not fully taken by farmers as it was difficult to get certified stems of improved varieties,” Dr Alfred Dixon, IITA Director for Development &Delivery, who led a delegation of experts, said during a visit to the Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Muhammad Nanono, in Abuja recently.
 
The visit was coordinated in the framework of the IITA-managed project known as the Building an Economically Sustainable Integrated Cassava Seed System, phase 2 (BASICS-II), provided opportunity for experts to draw attention of high-level decision makers to the untapped opportunity that cassava seed system offers in terms of food security, jobs and income generation.
 
Dr Dixon noted that IITA, through the BASICS-II project, was already working with partners and farmers to tap the opportunity, explaining that the project was creating a formal seed system for cassava that links breeder seeds with foundation seed producers and foundation seed producers to commercial seed entrepreneurs.
 
“The commercial seed producers will thereafter sell to the cassava root producers…and cassava root producers will subsequently process into various end products or sell surplus roots to processing industries in the country. In this fashion, we will be creating jobs and income generation opportunities for young people that will serve as seed entrepreneurs and modern producers of cassava. Furthermore, the use of certified seeds will increase the national productivity of cassava,” he added.
 
Dr Dixon also called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to support the IITA Go Seeds and NRCRI Umudike Seed—two Early Generation seeds companies that are imperative for sustainable seed production that will feed the demand pool for commercial seed producers.

He made a strong case for greater collaboration between FMARD andIITA and national partners – NASC and NRCRI, and called on the government to scaleout the BASICS-II project model to other cassava growing States as currently the project is working in Benue, Kogi, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Oyo and Delta States.

“Thirdly, we are appealing that the government should ensure that only certified seeds by NASC are procured from the Commercial Seeds Entrepreneurs.  Lastly, you may recallthe great contributions of IITA in the previous Presidential Initiatives on Cassava where we formed National consortia that successfully prevented the entrance of the devastating Uganda variant of the Cassava Mosaic Disease into the country…,” he added.

The Executive Director, NRCRI, Prof. Ukpabi Joseph Ukpabi, said the collaboration with IITA had been beneficial to the country, adding that the partnership made Nigeria the largest producer of cassava.

Boosting agricultural productivity to prevent food insecurity

source: The Nation

It’s a clear danger. A severe food crisis stares Nigeria in the face, requiring urgent policy responses by the authorities, including various players across the nation’s agriculture sector, to avert the looming danger.

With Nigeria’s rapidly growing population, amid rising cases of herders/farmers clashes that have disrupted food production across the country, as well as climate change, the on-going campaign for a more resilient ecosystem to securitise food supply has never been this compelling.

For those pushing the campaign, the model of agriculture, which largely centres on labour-intensive, primary production and consumption, must urgently give way to full scale mechanisation in order to achieve food security.

To them, the time has come for small-scale agriculture, which accounts for 70 per cent of agricultural production, to give way to large-scale, commercial agriculture that will not only guarantee increased revenue to farmers, but also create jobs and ultimately, achieve food security.

Incidentally, Nigeria enjoys a wealth of different climates and soils, which is reflected in the diversity of its agricultural production. And admittedly, the agriculture sector has continued to play a major role in the economy, generating income, employment and foreign exchange, for instance. However, the sector represents only three per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with experts noting that mechanisation a sure way to go to enhance its productivity.

Interestingly, the authorities in the agriculture sector seem to be aware of this thinking and appear to have, accordingly, risen to the challenge. The Federal Government’s decision to extend the National Programme on Food Security (NPFS) for another five years after it elapsed last year, for instance, attests to its realisation of the need to boost food production and halt the impending food crisis.

The NPFS, The Nation learnt, runs at the national level, by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and at state level, by the state Ministry of Agriculture.  It is an expanded phase of the erstwhile Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) implemented from 2002 to 2006 in the states.

The NPFS was selected as a priority project as a result of the preparation of the National Medium-Term Investment Programme (NMTIP) in support of the New Partnership for Africa Development’s (NEPAD’s) Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) designed to improve rural infrastructure and accessibility to market, improve household income and food security among others.

NPFS began with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development at the apex management committee, with Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) authorities acting as the supervisory body at the state level and implementation agencies for the programmes. The programme was to run for five years (2008 to 2013). Another phase ended in 2020, but it has now been extended by another five years.

NPFS’s Head of Agric Processing and Enhancement Mr. Hassan Bawa explained that the government’s decision to further expand the NPFS was in recognition of the role of agriculture in the national economy, as well as the need to improve smallholder productivity. He also said it was in recognition of the importance of sustainable agriculture for food security.

According to him, NPFS comprised a broad variety of interventions that focus on areas most relevant for improving food security at both national and household levels. These include improving farmers’ access to input such as fertiliser and seeds for rain-fed and irrigated agriculture; making it possible for farmers to have more than one cropping cycle, with the attendant doubling of net returns.

Bawa added that there had been instruments in facilitating groups of farmers to recognise and take up opportunities for improving their farming systems and livelihoods.

According to him, Lagos State Programme for Food Security (LPFS) is the state branch of NPFS to improve national and household food security, reduce rural poverty sustainably and increase agricultural output and the income of rural households and beneficiary communities.

The NPFS Head acknowledged the commitment of the Lagos State Government towards the sustenance of the initiative, attributing it to purposeful leadership on the part of successive administrations in the state.

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He said Lagos State, being one of the selected states for the pilot phase, recorded an impressive performance which qualified it for the expanded phase and later on the third phase.

Bawa noted that the state had qualified for another five years with support from the national headquarters. According to him, NPFS was being repacked to respond to the aspirations of the government to place agriculture as the engine of social and economic growth, adding that it was building consensus among partners on solutions to meet the challenges within the sector.

He reiterated that the NPFS agenda was an integral part of national efforts to promote the agriculture sector’s growth and economic transformation. He emphasised that considering the challenges faced by the agricultural sector, it was high time stakeholders re-engineered the sector by fully tapping the potential of agribusiness.

Agribusiness, Bawa said, could pave the way for a modern and resilient agriculture by fostering competition, innovation, research and development.  He pointed out that agribusiness would provide opportunities for inclusive economic growth and sustainable livelihoods as well as ensure food security.

According to him, rural development projects financed by NPFS have contributed to increase productivity, income and food security, adding that the programme has been innovative in bringing solutions around agro-processing. Such interventions, while boosting agricultural productivity, have also led to higher incomes and improved food security for beneficiaries of all projects.

For the Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Bisola Olusanya, ensuring the supply of quality and safe food at affordable prices requires a mix of food policy, smart technology and entrepreneurship.

According to her, the government has been supporting the agriculture business with a variety of policies in an attempt to stabilise the output, and also seeking ways to make sure that the agribusiness is growing healthily and sustainably. She noted that because of helpful policies, the agriculture sector’s performance has been raising steady in recent years.

Olusanya further stated that Lagos State has risen to the challenge of ensuring food security by increasing farming output, ensuring the provision of key farm product, promoting the supply-side structural reforms and accelerating the utilisation of machinery and advanced technologies within the agriculture sector.

In addition, she added that there were a network of public institutions and various programmes and schemes to safeguard agricultural producers and boost production. For instance, the State Programme for Food Security (SPFS) has been supporting projects aimed at raising incomes and improving livelihoods, food security and living conditions of the people.

The Commissioner, who said capacity development and training for farmers have helped them set up and develop their own businesses, also reiterated that Lagos State was determined to promote mechanisation to achieve a modern, competitive, comprehensive and sustainable agriculture.

To address the lack of agricultural system technology application in farm practices, Olusanya said the Lagos State Government was promoting incentives for investment, research and adoption in agricultural system technology.

She reiterated that the government was working to address various aspects of the food supply chain, including manpower, technological applications, financial resources, investment and infrastructure.

According to Olusanya, the goal was to grow the agric sector to a greater level to strengthen food supply and self-sufficiency through increased domestic production, modern technology expansion, and reduce dependence on food imports.

She added that the SPFS has also provided support services such as extension, credit, nutrition education to farmers and consumers in the state, thereby improving their standards of living and livelihood.

She noted that innovations were needed all the way from the farm to fork.

So far, she said, farmers across all the three senatorial districts in Lagos had benefited from the state government’s initiative under SPFS with the donation of millions of naira to support farmers, as well as distribution of various farming implements to the beneficiaries.

The commissioner maintained: “We must always bear in mind that farming at any scale is a business and businesses need clear linkages along the value chain from production to processing, to marketing and ultimately to consumption.”

According to Olusanya, “Investing in these farmers, many of whom are women and in the markets around them is more important than ever. In order to feed a population expected to grow globally to nine billion people by 2050, the world will needs to be more efficient in how it meets this demand.”

The General Manager, Lagos State Agricultural Development Authority, Dr. Pereira-Sheteolu Olalekan, noted that it was important to ensure that food security became one of the cornerstones of the State’s response, adding that there was the need to continue to leverage innovation.

He said, for instance, that Lagos has been driving aquaculture training and empowering rice/fish, poultry on project sites, in addition to spreading the use of improved farm storage facilities to all interested farmers.  This, according to him, was to increase the availability of domestically produced fish through increased aquaculture output.

Olalekan informed that the Authority was saddled with generating and distributing improved farming technology, new innovations and practices to farmers in the State.

According to him, the idea of procuring and distributing various farm inputs such as knapsack sprayers, organic manure, cutlasses, hoes, safety gadgets, digital movable scales, compost plus and water pumps, among others, to farmer groups, would assist them in expanding their farms and food production in the State.

He said a total of 6,650 farmers had benefited from the programme, adding that the 2021 edition would impact 2,310 farmers.

How our agro-shop model will boost nutrition, agribusiness, by Odedina

Source: The Guardian

Ogun State Ministry of Agriculture, on Friday, opened its agro-shop the secretariat in Oke-Mosan.

The agro-shop is a one-stop shop that, as the government put it, would serve as an avenue for workers in the secretariat and others to buy fresh, quality and value added agricultural products at affordable prices from farmers and partners.

The agro-shop, donated by Harvest-field Industries Ltd, would also serve as an agribusiness information and linkage centre for individuals interested in agricultural value chain opportunities in the state.

The Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Adeola Odedina, reiterated the focus of the present administration to improving the health and nutritional well-being of the gun populace by ensuring the availability of healthy foods as part of the state Agricultural agenda.

Dignitaries at the event included Ogun State Head of Service, Alhaja Selimot Ottun; Permanent Secretary, Ogun State Ministry of Agriculture; Acting General Manager, Ogun State Agro Services Corporation; Programme Manager, Ogun State Cassava Revolution Programme; Programme Manager, Ogun State Agricultural Development Programme (OGADEP); Directors in the Ministry of Agriculture; Representatives of Women Leaders, Representatives of Market Women; Representatives of Dapo Abiodun Apex Alliance Sisters; partners such as Harvest-Field Industries Ltd, CATO Foods, Harvest-Plus Nigeria and other stakeholders.

The commissioner said it was a private sector franchise model to be initiated in several locations in the state, and would create a unique agro commerce opportunities.

“The structure was donated to us free of charge by one company in Ogun State; Harvestfield Ltd. They produce agrochemicals. When I shared the idea with the managing director, he responded positively,” he said.


Firm Pledges to Lift One Million Farmers Out of Poverty by 2025

Source: This Day

Babban Gona, a financially sustainable and social enterprise, has said it will empower smallholder farmers and lift not less than one million of them out of poverty by 2025.

The enterprise in a statement, said it recorded a bumper harvest of maize with yields more than double the national average.

“The continent of Africa harvests 29 million hectares, and as the largest producer, Nigeria produced 1.77 tons per hectare in 2020. However, the Babban Gona team has achieved an average of 3.84 metric tons/hectare, a massive development compared to the achievable value across Nigeria,” the statement further said.

The Managing Director, Babban Gona, Mr. Kola Masha, while commenting on the feat said, “Babban Gona is committed to lifting one million smallholder farmers out of poverty by 2025. Our cumulative smallholder members have grown to over 110,000.

“Babban Gona has helped these smallholder farmers to increase their yield and net income by two times the national average. Leveraging on Babban Gona’s proprietary crop assessment technology which analyzes optimal plant populations, assesses germination rates on-field and plant nutrient deficiency levels, and we are able to improve efficiency and productivity for each farmer. Today, we have grown to become one of the largest maize producers on the African continent cultivating over 80,000 acres of maize.”

Masha promised that the team would address the root cause of youth unemployment and violence by stimulating the economy’s growth as well as disrupting the rise in illegal migration.

Giving testimonies of his increased yields in maize production in the northern part of the country, Mr. Abubakar Haruna, a smallholder farmer from Kampa village in Kubau Local Government Area of Kaduna State, said before he joined Babban Gona, he barely got 10 bags of maize from his one-hectare farmland. He said after joining Babban Gona in the first year, he got 50 bags of maize from his one hectare farmland.

In the second year, he decided to cultivate two hectares of land, and during harvest, he got 102 bags of maize from his farm, a development, he said, changed his for the better since then.

“Some co-farmers living in my village who had already joined Babban Gona advised me to join Babban Gona, and I partnered with them. I got over a hundred bags of maize alone from two hectares of land and made huge profits. I currently farm a land size of 3.5 hectares compared to the one-hectare farmland I started within 2016, another smallholder farmer, Saidu Sani, said.

Babban Gona, which means ‘Great Farm’ in Hausa language, is an award-winning, high-impact, financially sustainable, and highly scalable social enterprise, partly owned by the farmers it serves. By developing and deploying advanced technology coupled with operational excellence, Babban Gona transforms agriculture into a job creation engine with its goal to create one million jobs for African youth by 2025, through maize farming.