Agriculture is increasingly becoming a key driver of Nigeria’s economy contributing 26% to GDP and employing 42% of the population. In recent years, the Government of Nigeria (GoN) has placed fresh emphasis on the agriculture sector in its efforts to generate broad-based growth, diversify the economy away from crude oil, create jobs, and achieve food security. GoN has unveiled a new Agricultural Promotion Policy (APP 2016-2020) also known as the Green Alternative aimed at achieving food security goals, import substitution, job creation, and economic diversification. Investments in agriculture are anchored on the Agriculture Sector Investment Plan (ASIP) (the Green Alternative Plan).
Nigeria faces gaps in the agriculture sector which include sub-optimal sector coordination, low productivity levels, limited access to finance and a lack of market linkages therefore failing to leverage on a huge domestic demand for food and opportunities to export to neighboring countries. The potential for Agriculture development in Nigeria is immense and can potential be captured through targeted investments in specific value chains and catalyzing private sector investment e.g., Nigeria is the world’s largest cassava producer and Africa’s largest rice importer, opportunities to capture international markets for cassava and for import substitution for rice can be identified, assessed and potentially captured.
To address these challenges, AGRA and its partners recognize that consistent high-level interventions at federal level and state level are required to deliver a broad-based economic solution. AGRA will work with partners such as BMGF on federal level engagement and apply a dual approach which includes country support /policy engagement at State level (and federal level if needed) and systems and farmer development in prioritized states. The strategy draws heavily from lessons learned from AGRA’s past investments in Nigeria totaling ~$15 million with emphasis on gender inclusiveness and equity. It is a 5-year strategy targeting 1.9M SHFs in two states (Kaduna and Niger) and costing approximately US$ 25M. Specific interventions will include:
- Country Support at State Level and Policy Engagement: supporting the governments of Kaduna and Niger States to translate the Green Alternative into action through improved policy formulation and implementation, enhanced coordination with agribusinesses as well as increased budget allocations to the sector.
- System and Farmer Level Development:
- Facilitate public-private partnerships (PPPs) to tackle structural constraints hindering the uptake of new technologies and the creation effective agricultural systems;
- Strengthening the capacity of farmers in Kaduna and Niger states to tap into existing and new market opportunities by increasing yield to produce surpluses and meeting quality requirements of selected market segments;
- Enhance access to credit by financial institutions by de-risking SHFs and other Value Chain Actors (VCAs).