Agricultural inputs

Smallholder farmers constitute about 70% of the Nigerian rural population and produce over 90% of the country’s agricultural output. However these farmers harvest very low yields per unit area because they often use inadequate and poor quality farm inputs, as well as ineffective cultivation practices. Farmers are unaware of the benefits of using quality inputs, and face challenges of accessing the right agricultural input (fertilisers, seeds, and agrochemicals) at the right time. When inputs are available, farmers often have to travel long distances to purchase them which increases their cost of production and decreases their profit margin. Knowledge of good agricultural practices is also a limiting factor in maximising their productivity and income.
Working with private sector partners, Propcom Mai-karfi (PM) has designed interventions and marketing strategies to make selected seeds, fertilisers and crop protection products more available to smallholder farmers in the rural north, as well as to cascade trainings on good agricultural practices (GAP) to them.

Fertilisers

Propcom Mai-karfi’s (PM) fertiliser intervention is one of its oldest running programmes.  PM has partnered with various fertiliser companies including Notore Chemicals, Golden Fertiliser, and Springfield Agro to expand the fertiliser market and provide smallholder farmers with improved access to fertilisers through the introduction of 1kg and 10kg packs to the fertiliser market, as well as offering these farmers education on good agricultural practices. To further strengthen rural distribution networks further, PM also collaborated with private fertiliser distributors to increase outreach to more smallholder farmers and grow the distributors’ market share. Fertiliser distributors identified rural promoters to work with, and PM trained and incentivised these promoters to establish demonstration plots and improve their performance in marketing small fertiliser packs to rural farmers. Farmers were trained using demonstration plots and received some usage education from distributors after purchase. Thus far over 370 smallholder rural farmers have earned a cumulative total of NGN 4 billion in additional income as a result of our work. PM is now working to develop financing schemes with interested finance institutions for fertiliser distributors to sustainably make fertilisers available to farmers in PM current 9 states.

Crop Protection Products (CPPs)

PM partnered with agricultural input firms Syngenta and Saro to develop and pilot strategies to increase farmers’ access to CPPs and train them on proper handling and usage. PM supported partners to establish demonstration plots and hold events to train farmers on good agricultural practices. PM recognised that although farmers were trained to apply CPP’s to their farms, they did not always have the right application and protective gear, but also farmers were losing money by using chemicals wastefully. In the early stages of planning its interventions with crop protection products, PM proposed to its private-sector partners that the best way to minimise risks to human health and the environment would be through a system of service provision. This has formed the basis of PM’s partnership with Croplife Africa Middle East, a professional association representing international companies that manufacture and sell pesticides in the region. The partnership is training spray service providers and equipping them to provide spray services to farmers for a fee.

Seeds

In 2012, Propcom Maikarfi collaborated with the Adamawa Agricultural Development and Investment Ltd (AADIL) to pilot the provision of certified seeds to rural smallholder farmers in Adamawa state in affordable mini packs. Targeted farmers were encouraged to change from using seeds save from their farms to buying certified seeds to improve yields. 40,000 maize farmers, 300 groundnut farmers, and 300 soybean farmers were reached under the scheme.

In 2014, Propcom Mai-karfi supported Springfield Agro to pilot its Bada Koshi (‘to feed well’ in Hausa) distribution model for maize and rice seeds in three states; Kaduna, Gombe, and Kano. Springfield Agro trained 150 village based agents in the three states to provide a wider reach for its product and earn a commission. Springfield sold a cumulative 25,500 packs of seeds to 5,000 farmers.

Propcom Mai-karfi is currently supporting WACOT to roll out rural market expansion campaigns for rice and sesame seeds which address a) farmer knowledge and behaviour change on usage of certified seeds, and b) value chain constraints and improved seeds distribution models. The interventions and partnership leverage on WACOT’s expertise in seed multiplication, contract farming, and crop marketing in Nigeria, as well as Propcom Mai-karfi’s experience with facilitating capacity building for farmer groups to increase crop yield. Focusing initially on the pilot states of Katsina and FCT for sesame, and Kebbi state for rice, the partnership with WACOT aims to achieve the following:

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