BusinessDay

AGRA, AFEX empowers over 98,000 smallholder farmers with finance, farm inputs

....provide deepened access to market

Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has supported AFEX to provide access to finance, market and farm inputs like fertilizers, seeds, and crop protection products to over 98,000 small holder farmers in Nigeria.

Ayodeji Balogun, the chief executive officer of AFEX disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday, stating that access to finance and access to markets has remained the major challenges of smallholder farmers in Nigeria.

According to him, by engaging with AFEX, farmers are able to gain access to finance in the form of inputs like fertilizers, seeds, and crop protection products while also being enabled to access support in terms of extension services that impart knowledge on good agronomic services.

He said, “AGRA has been instrumental and pivotal to our growth. A few points of intervention first is after we had built out the outreach model they supported us with a grant that helped in scaling up the reach of the program. This included an increase in the number of field extension officers and improving the quality of training given to our farmers.

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“We reached over 98,000 farmers during the project scope. Our value proposition to farmers has always been two-fold: access to finance and access to markets, which are two huge problems that smallholder farmers in Nigeria have historically been unable to surmount.

“At the end of the season, the farmers also access larger markets through AFEX as their products can be aggregated with that of other smallholder farmers and furnish the orders of AFEX clients on the processor side.”

He further noted that market linkage is one of the most crucial interventions needed by smallholder farmers.

Farmers according to him, need market not fertilizer, adding that adequate market access ultimately solve the cash flow problem for the entire value chain.

“When you solve for market and a producer has confidence in his ability to earn revenue from the farm, even when he does not have the cash, but he has a market fixed, other sources of financing to unlock that productivity open for him. So, the farmer can get a loan, buy the input he needs and then produce the commodity that goes into the market.

“It is very powerful to build a market system that works. This market access has been a key part of the work that we have undertaken with AGRA’s support.

“Price is then the second most important variable for the income of the farmer. With our work with AGRA, and across the country, we have been able to create a platform where the farmers can ultimately sell and bring intermediation along the value chain which is a critical value to provide for farmers,” he said.

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