In its effort to combat poverty and empower rural communities, the Investing In Impact (3i) initiative has empowered 655 underserved rural livestock farmers in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria with N540 million.
Gbenga Ariyo, CEO of 3i, said this at a recent press briefing, shedding light on the groundbreaking impact the project has had on the region.
“Our direct beneficiaries, numbering 655, have benefited from a total disbursement of N540 million. This has extended to impacting over 1,200 households in rural communities,” Ariyo said.
“Our initiative addresses funding shortages and enhances production skills, narrowing the gap between urban and rural prosperity.
“We have reached four states, collaborated with 62 small business owners, providing essential resources such as feed, poultry birds, and medication.
“Our initiative addresses funding shortages and enhances production skills, narrowing the gap between urban and rural prosperity,” he added.
Livestock production in Nigeria ranks the second-largest agricultural sub-sector, contributing 5 percent to the agricultural GDP. It serves as a vital support for rural households, especially small-scale crop producers, acting as a “safety net” during challenges.
Despite its crucial role, the livestock sector faces underdevelopment, impacting smallholders and food security. In rural areas, 85 percent of households rear poultry and 81 percent raise small ruminants, with an average flock size of 6 small ruminants, 6 birds, and one large ruminant per household in the Northeast.
For 80 percent of the Nigerian farming population, mostly rural smallholders, livestock serves as a source of nutrition and a means to trade for essential agricultural inputs during lean farming periods.
For women particularly, managing backyard livestock offers financial stability and flexibility within cultural constraints, a report by Ikore, an international development organisation, revealed.
Highlighting the importance of livestock in enhancing food security, Eva Dan-Yusuf, program manager for 3i, emphasised the initiative’s aim to empower rural women in North-East Nigeria.
“By providing training in poultry and livestock production, we target poverty, limited skills, and lack of financing, contributing to both local livelihoods and global food security,” she said.
Explaining the distinctive aspects of the initiative, Ariyo highlighted an innovative in-kind financing model. “Our program offers resources for the breeding period. Once income is generated, these resources are refunded, allowing reinvestment to support other women in the program,” Ariyo said.
“The project’s core aim is to equip rural women with entrepreneurial skills, fostering sustainable income generation,” the CEO continued, stating the significance of supporting rural livestock farmers, and acknowledging their pivotal role in ensuring food security and economic growth in communities.
“Our vision is to reach 75,000 women in the next decade, promote inclusive growth and contribute to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 5,” Ariyo said, reiterating that focus remained on empowering rural women economically, and shaping a more sustainable agricultural landscape in Nigeria.