The Future of Farming in Nigeria

Nigeria’s agricultural sector faces many challenges. At Doreo Partners, we believe the solution lies in the hands of smallholder farmers.

doreo-partnersApproximately 80 million youth will enter a now over-saturated Nigerian workforce by 2030, and agriculture can play a crucial role as Nigeria’s job creation engine. However, to absorb such a high number of unemployed youths, farming in Nigeria must undergo a transformation in order to be a viable and attractive source of income.

Modern day farming in Nigeria consists of small holder farmers who have little to no access to credit, agricultural extension services, high quality inputs and market access.

These issues systematically keep farmers in poverty with the inability to be productive or scale despite being part of a sector that makes up 40% of the country’s GDP and employs roughly 70% of its population.

Farming in Nigeria has predominantly been conducted in its traditional form and at a sustenance level. Over the past few decades there has been little innovation infused into the sector, rendering it stagnant with severely damaged value chains. Similar to other sectors in Nigeria, the agricultural sector faces challenges of leadership, professional management, inefficiencies, and innovation.

Nigeria has the necessary inputs to be a successful agricultural nation, arable land and a large population

While there is capital available, it usually is not provided to small farmers who do not have the necessary collateral to get favorable loan terms from financial institutions. With all the outlined challenges, what is the solution for an industry where the majority of its employees does not have access to the necessary inputs and therefore cannot be productive?

At Doreo Partners, we believe the solution lies in the hands of smallholder farmers; however, coupled with a drastic change in the mode of operation. Doreo Partners is an impact investment firm with a proven track record of exclusively investing in profitable, high growth, early stage businesses that improve the livelihoods of Nigerian smallholder farmers. Doreo’s investment strategy is driven by the team’s passion to offer a private sector driven solution to Nigeria’s leading social challenge: spiraling youth unemployment.

With this in mind, we developed the Babban Gona (“Great Farm” in Hausa) franchise model, a sustainable private sector franchise model, to provide cost-effective end-to-end services to a network of franchise farmer groups called “Trust Groups.”

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Babban Gona franchises grassroots level farmer organizations and provides the required economies of scale to efficiently deliver services to smallholder farmers

Through training and development, access to credit, best practice agricultural input technologies, output aggregation, storage and marketing services, Babban Gona improves the incomes and livelihoods of smallholder Nigerian farmers.

Great success has been recorded thus far with Babban Gona farmers yielding significantly higher output averages than their non Babban Gona counter parts. In the 2012 planting season, our best farmer had maize yields that were six times higher than the average within his community. In addition the program has seen an exponential increase in the number of Trust Groups from 16 during last year’s planting season to just over 150 this year; an increase of 10 folds.

In line with addressing the value chain in a holistic manner, Doreo Partners negotiated on behalf of the farmers an off take agreement with Nestle, a highly reputable multinational. Babban Gona farmers attained premium pricing at 37% higher than they could have attained by themselves using the traditional middlemen.

Babban Gona is on a path to lift 500,000 smallholder farmers in Nigeria out of poverty by 2020, and 5 million Nigerian smallholder farmers out of poverty by 2030. We believe the agricultural sector is the engine of employment and growth for Nigeria. Our franchise model is the future of farming, providing farmers with the economies of scale needed to be productive and profitable in a sector that has kept them in poverty for far too long.

To learn more about Doreo Partners, we welcome you to visit our website at www.doreopartners.com and or follow us on G+.

Kola Masha is the founder of Doreo Partners, an agriculture focused, African impact-investing firm. Prior to founding Doreo, Kola was a Managing Director and CEO of a major subsidiary in the Notore Group, one of Nigeria’s leading agricultural conglomerates, where he raised US$24 Million to develop an integrated agricultural trading, production and processing business. Kola holds an MBA (Honors) from Harvard and Masters in Mechanical Engineering (Distinction) from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT.

  • thewayforward

    Farming is the future and the way to Nigeria’s economic sustenance, youth empowerment and employment. I wish Doreo the best in its endeavours.

  • Shafique Ahmed Quraishi

    I wish Nigeria a Good luck start, if at even village level the poultry/agriculture is started it will greatly help in eradication of unemployment and finally to reach at a level of self sufficiency in food & in improving the Country”s economy. Best Wisges