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UK’s Fund aids millions in Northern Nigeria to generate N37bn

Funded by the British Government, the UK aid through its Propcom Mai-karfi has supported over 1.25 million adults in Northern Nigeria to generate over N37 billion in incomes over the past 9 years, according to Ben Llewellyn-Jones, the UK Deputy High Commissioner to Lagos.

Sharing the strategies for promoting inclusive business models for the private sector, prospects for transformation, and opportunities for donors and development partners, the UK Government in an event last Thursday, said Propcom Mai-karfi had expanded market access and catalysed private sector investments to create economic opportunities for smallholder farmers in Northern Nigeria.

“We are very pleased to be able to celebrate today with all our partners the impact Propcom Mai-Karfi has made in Northern Nigeria over the last 9 years,” he said.

According to him, the success of Propcom Mai-karfi has only been possible due to the drive, motivation, and willingness of its partners to adopt the market-driven approaches that ultimately create greater economic opportunities for poor men and women.

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“The UK remains committed to supporting inclusive and climate-resilient growth in Nigeria, and we look forward to continuing these partnerships,” he said.

Applauding the UK Government, the Commissioner of Agriculture, Kaduna State, Halima Lawal, said the considerable achievements of Propcom Mai-karfi in developing agriculture over the years, especially in promoting pro-poor opportunities and inclusive market growth in Northern Nigeria, had improved the livelihood of citizens in his state and the region.

“As a State, we remain committed to facilitating and attracting investments and look forward with keen anticipation to future collaborations with the UK government,” Lawal said.

With the slogan, ‘making rural markets work for the poor’, Propcom Mai-karfi is a market systems programme funded by the UK government and implemented across nine locations in Northern Nigeria; including the six post-conflict North-East states.

“We work to increase incomes for the rural poor by reviving and facilitating access to agricultural and rural markets,” Propcom Mai-karfi said.

According to EFInA’s 2020 Access to Financial Services survey, Nigeria’s North West and North East zones continued to be the most financially excluded regions. A higher financial exclusion rate in Nigeria could lead to a poorer population as lack of access to credit and insurance puts them at an economic disadvantage.

“Defining and/or sustaining various paths to economic recovery and growth demands that existing knowledge and experiences be accounted for in the process. Propcom’s closing event offered up our wealth of experience for everyone to share in the future development efforts in Northern Nigeria,” Kevin Gager, national team leader, Propcom Mai-karfi said.

While Propcom Mai-karfi stimulates sustainable, pro-poor growth in selected rural markets and improves engagement of poor men and women within these market systems, it makes the markets more inclusive for poor people.

Propcom Mai-karfi recently deployed the ‘Making Markets Work for the Poor – M4P’ approach, which focuses on tackling the constraints that affect the markets that poor people participate in so that they can derive higher benefits and values from better functioning market systems.

The Programme targeted market systems with opportunities for poor farmers. It identified factors causing them to perform poorly and facilitated relevant players in the markets to address those underlying constraints. In so doing, Propcom helped to build the capacity of smallholders in climate-smart agriculture and helped to provide the knowledge for them to improve their productivity and overall production.

By helping smallholders generate increased income, the Programme stimulated economic recovery in Northern Nigeria to the tune of N37 billion in public and private sector investment.

“At the heart of Propcom Mai-karfi was sustainability. The Programme assumed only a facilitatory role, never direct delivery, thereby allowing key actors to drive the process from the outset,” deputy team leader, Propcom Mai-karfi, Ogheneovo Ugbebor, said.

Importantly, Ugbebor said Propcom’s intervention designs and strategies were built on the motivation and incentives of key players to act now and in the future, creating the needed drive for continuity.

“In its facilitative capacity, Propcom sustainably expanded market access to agricultural inputs and services, trade linkages and fostered business and regulatory reforms leveraging billions of naira in investments from the public and private sectors,” he said.

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