Abuja – On October 20, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) marked the successful conclusion of the three year, $3 million Feed the Future Nigeria Agro-Inputs Activity. The activity built the capacity of agro-inputs dealers to provide extension advisory services to farmers and to compensate for a shortfall of public extension agents in the Federal Capital Territory and seven target states. Interventions focused on the maize, sorghum, rice, and cassava value chains.
The Agro-Inputs Activity: a) strengthened the capacity of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) to better regulate the agro-inputs sector; b) improved the entrepreneurial capacity of agro-dealers to extend their networks to rural areas; c) increased smallholder farmers’ demands for high-quality inputs, technologies, and good agricultural practices; and d) empowered women and youth farmers to access inputs and new technologies.
Stephen M. Haykin, the USAID Nigeria Mission Director, explained, the Feed the Future Nigeria Agro-Inputs Activity “has strengthened the private sector-led agricultural inputs market, which has enabled farmers to access quality inputs and increase their agricultural productivity. We are heartened to see that the strong actions of Government of Nigeria and other stakeholders have fortified these gains, and we are confident that we will continue to see progress.”
The Agro-Inputs Activity built the capacity of approximately 1,400 agro-inputs dealers and 4,000 smallholder farmers, and demonstrated the productivity-enhancing technologies of Urea Deep Placement and soil and crop specific fertilizer blends. Additionally, the activity worked with microfinance institutions to improve access to credit, easing the burden normally faced by farmers during the planting season. Through this partnership, 60 percent of beneficiary farmers and agro-inputs dealers were able to access finance to grow their businesses.