OCP, one of the leading companies in the global production and exportation of phosphate-based fertilizers is offering farmers and agriculture practitioners an inclusive end-to-end value chain solution that brings about a boost for farmers’ produces and revenues.
This scheme is now being boosted across key Agric-belts in Nigeria as the 2020 farming season commences and is intended to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on Nigeria’s food security.
The Initiative tagged Agribooster, which was launched in 2017, supports smallholder farmers to get access to good quality farm inputs, financial services, markets, and training with extension services centered on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) while improving the yield and productivity of the farmer.
Speaking on the initiative recently, the Business Development Manager for OCP Africa Nigeria, Mr. Akintunde Akinwande said: “This initiative allows sharing of efforts and feeds from each partner’s experiences. Following the decline in agricultural production in Nigeria, we are pleased to have programs like this which are fashioned towards helping smallholder farmers, and empowerment of young extension agents to fight insufficiency and insecurity of both food and cash crops.”
In the 2019 intervention, OCP Africa Nigeria partnered with Thrive Agric Limited, ABU Microfinance Bank and Palm Valley Nigeria Limited to supply high-quality fertilizer, seeds and chemicals as well as providing Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) training and extension services to over fifteen thousand (15,000) Maize, Rice and Soybeans farmers in Kaduna, Niger, Katsina, Kano and Kebbi states. Loans were provided to registered farmers to buy quality inputs and a guaranteed market was also available for farmers’ output after harvest.
Talking further on the initiative, Mr. Akinwande explained that the scheme also trained and equipped about 30 last-mile agents with Motorcycles and Tablets to work directly with farmers to ensure that quality practical GAP trainings are cascaded down through the Training of Trainers (ToT) approach, while also performing entrepreneurial functions in retail sales of quality inputs to farmers within its environment.
OCP Africa also partnered with the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria to collaborate around research, identification and exchange of innovation on agriculture, technical assistance, training and extension supervision through the Extension and Rural Sociology Department of the University .
The intervention was a success as the smallholder farmers made returns on their investments of up to 84% as a result of an average yield of 3.4MT per Hectare on Maize; a spike of up to 48% from the yields of the previous farming season. The Financial institutions involved also recorded loan recoveries above 86% which is very commendable when compared to other schemes they have been involved in. Three farmers, Rabiu Hakilu, Salihu Yakubu and Abubakar Yusuf from Soba and Kubau LGAs in Kaduna were ranked the highest performing farmers for the season with a yield of 7.8MT of Maize harvest on their one-hectare farms.
Speaking to some of the benefactors of the initiative, Deborah Emmanuel, a female farmer from Pampaida-Ikara, Kaduna State said “I can now afford to send my daughter to a good school”, she exclaimed!! Another farmer, Rabiu Aliyu claimed that after paying his loan he could repair his broken-down bus and put it into commercial use thereby bringing him additional income.
Key partners also lent their voices to the impact of this laudable project on Agriculture in Nigeria. Alhaji Aminu Mohamed, Managing Director of ABU Microfinance bank said “This is the first and only project that has brought about quality business opportunity and income in the lives of our farmers. The Agribooster project aided quick access to quality input, increased awareness on financial literacy, banking/saving culture amongst farmer’s cooperatives, and most importantly provided a platform for increase business and sustainable engagement between the University and its host community”.