Fish farming is a huge industry in Nigeria, but smallholder farmers face several obstacles. Elisa Burrows, Partnership Manager at Fintrac, writes how offering financing for them can open up a world of opportunities.
In the Kano and Sagamu regions of Nigeria, suitable water resources and high market demand mean that aquaculture presents a profitable opportunity for smallholder farmers to expand their farming activities. Yet few farmers take advantage of this opportunity because they lack the technical knowledge fish farming requires and because there are few hatcheries that supply fish to small-scale farmers. To help change this, Chi Farms, a Nigeria-based livestock and aquaculture business, is working with smallholder farmers – primarily women – to develop this business opportunity.
The market opportunity for fish farming in Nigeria is huge. Nigerians consume nearly 2 million tons of fish per year, and the country’s growing population ensures demand will continue to boom. Demand far outweighs current national production, making it necessary to import fish from all over the world. However, in recent years the price of imported fish has increased significantly because of the devaluation of the Nigerian naira. Even though fish is a key ingredient in many Nigerian dishes and an important and efficiently produced source of protein (for every kilogram of fish feed, a kilogram of fish is produced), only half the fish consumed by Nigerians is sourced locally. To increase local production, Chi Farms is partnering with Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation, a Fintrac-implemented USAID program that invests in private sector partnerships to commercialize agricultural innovations in smallholder markets, to increase Chi Farms’ capacity to supply fish to farmers and build teams of aquaculture specialists to provide extension services. Continue reading
When Chibuike Emmauel saw unused land at a local cable TV station by the water – he also saw a business opportunity. Now he runs a successful fish farm, and hopes to inspire other Nigerian youth to take on the challenge of feeding the world.
Agriculture is one of the major ways Africa can achieve economic emancipation. Yet the image of agriculture as being tedious and unrewarding continually puts off a lot of young people from embracing the sector.
When I set up my farm, I felt the onus was on me to engage, practice what I preached; to show that young people who make agriculture a business can be financially rewarded while fighting hunger and unemployment on the continent. Continue reading
As part of GCARD 2010, Farming First hosted a session entitled ‘Better Benefiting the Poor through Public-Private Partnerships for Innovation and Action.’ Within the discussions, our panel of experts addressed several case studies that present different ways that partnerships have helped to empower smallholder farmers around the world.
Scott Mall – International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC)
The Cassava Plus project is a public-private partnership initiative helping farmers grow cassava for profit. The project is supported by Nigeria’s Taraba, Osun and Benue state governments, implemented by IFDC (a public international organization) and DADTCO (a Netherlands-based for-profit company) and funded by the Schokland Fund of the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
With over 38 million metric tons of harvested fresh cassava roots per year, Nigeria is the largest cassava-producing nation in the world. An estimated seven to eight million Nigerian farm families grow cassava, which serves as an important staple food crop for both rural and urban populations in many countries in Africa. In addition to its role as a traditional subsistence crop that provides food security insurance, cassava has great market potential as a source of flour and thus can serve as a partial substitute for imported wheat flour.
IFDC will organize and link farmers to the downstream DADTCO value chain and develop the capacity of farmers, agro-input dealers and other market players. These actions will support commercial production, reduce the mining of soil nutrients and make cassava production environmentally and economically sustainable. The Cassava Plus project has the potential to help change cassava from a subsistence to a cash crop, helping farm families maximize their incomes while also improving agricultural practices and soil fertility.
The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has just launched an interactive world map highlighting some of the many success stories in agricultural development from around the world. It is part of a wider upcoming launch of their newest publication, Millions Fed: Proven Successes in Agricultural Development, which will be released on 12 November.
The interactive map allows viewers to explore case studies of how agricultural research has benefited individual countries and regions. Each case study identifies key periods of time, target regions, and a more detailed account of each intervention. It also provides additional links to related case studies from elsewhere.
The range of case studies includes:
- Combating cassava diseases in Nigeria and Ghana: This programme has contributed to 40% yield increases and has benefited 29 million local people
- Introducing zero-tillage agriculture in Argentina: This practice has improved soil fertility, created new agricultural jobs, and helped keep global soybean prices low
- Improving mungbean yields and resilience in south Asia: Introducing new varieties of mungbeans has helped improve yields, shorten maturity times, and increase resilience to pests to the extent that global production increased by 35% over the past 25 years.
There are many more case studies on the site, which helps create a visual cue for understanding agriculture’s advancements since the mid-20th century.
TradeNet, a Ghana-based trading platform allows users to sign up for SMS alerts for commodities and markets of their choice and receive instant alerts for offers to buy or sell as soon as anyone else on the network has submitted an offer on their mobile phone.
Users can also request and receive real-time prices for more than 80 commodities from 400 markets across West Africa.
Individual users can advertise their goods and offers on free Web sites with their own Internet addresses, and farmer and trader groups can set up Web sites to manage all these services for their members.
The Ghana Agricultural Producers and Traders Organization is a major beneficiary. In 2006, it concluded trade deals worth $60,000 with other producer and trader organizations in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Nigeria. These deals involved purchasing tomatoes, onions, and potatoes without middlemen, reducing the transaction costs substantially.