IFDC and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) launched the NADS project (2008-2011) to provide credit and support to rural agro-dealers across Nigeria. For smallholder farmers in remote areas, these agro-dealers are the primary source to purchase seeds, fertilizers and other farm inputs critical for increasing productivity and incomes.
The NADS project supported the commitment of the Nigerian government to make agriculture and rural development priority areas for reducing poverty. Use of modern seeds and fertilizers in Nigeria is estimated to be less than 15 percent of the market potential. Fertilizers and improved seeds are not readily available in most rural areas. Farmers must often pay high costs to travel to towns to buy needed agro-inputs. NADS worked to ensure that quality seeds and other agro-inputs were available, accessible and affordable to more than one million rural smallholder farmers.
Under NADS, agro-dealers were trained in safe handling and efficient and environmentally sound use of farm inputs. They then transferred the knowledge to their smallholder farmer customers who comprise the overwhelming majority of agricultural workers in Nigeria.
Certified seed production in Nigeria is just 5,000 metric tons (mt) per year, and fertilizer use averages only 8.0 kilograms per hectare. Yields are low and most soils are badly depleted of nutrients. Nigerian farmers have little access to extension services and little or no access to financing. Although Nigeria has at least 10,000 agro-input dealers, only about five percent (500 dealers) have been trained in modern business practices and few have access to formal credit. NADS trained 2,300 dealers.
AGRA and IFDC worked with local partners to build agro-dealers' capacity and strengthen their technical and business knowledge. NADS supported existing trade associations and helped agro-dealers access investment capital for business development through risk-sharing arrangements. Shop owners were also trained in providing services like field demonstrations, soil testing and teaching of best management practices to farmers.
Activities and Accomplishments
- 225 agro-dealers were trained and certified in business management.
- 315 agro-dealers were trained and certified in technical management, in collaboration with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, CropLife and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources.
- 12 input fairs were held in collaboration with the IFDC-implemented MIR+ project across four regions of the country.
- Three new technology transfer centers and 30 demonstration plots were established across four regions.
- More than US $1 million was dispersed to over 200 agro-dealers in eight of the 15 states of intervention through two microfinance institutions. These states span three of the six geo-political regions in the country.
- Dealers, by virtue of access to loans and credit facilities, moved and sold an estimated 5,000 mt of fertilizers, 1,225 mt of seeds and more than 500 liters of agro- chemicals.
- 27 new agro-dealer shops were opened.
- NADS collaborated with the National Agricultural Seed Council to construct and distribute “branded seed kiosks” on a pilot basis to 37 agro-dealers across four geo-political regions of Nigeria. These kiosks are aimed at promoting the sale and distribution of certified seeds to farmers.
- The project launched technology transfer centers in nine Nigerian states, with nearly 12,000 agro-dealers, farmers, extension workers and other stakeholders from the agricultural industry participating.
- NADS trained 823 agro-dealers in new technology and business management skills. Nearly 170 “master” trainers were certified during 12 “training-of-trainer” sessions.
- Agro-dealers learned about seed production through study tours to three indigenous seed companies in Nigeria.
- The agro-input sub-sector became one of the key components of the federal government’s newly introduced agricultural lending scheme.
- Through a series of advocacy activities, NADS garnered the support of both the government and the private sector for the development of the agro-input sub-sector. This provided additional opportunities to the project-supported regional associations.
- The project facilitated and supported the inaugural annual general meeting of the North Central Agro-Input Dealers Association, which was held in December 2009 in Minna, Niger state.
- The project signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Grooming (People for Better Livelihood) Center, a non-governmental microfinance institution. The agreement is aimed at the provision of financial support (through a guarantee fund/revolving credit approach) to project-supported agro-dealer associations across several Nigerian states.
- NADS actively participated at the annual National Agricultural Show along with other stakeholders.
NADS Project Summary
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An IFDC Core Competency: Agro-Dealer Development (Taken from IFDC Report Volume 35, No.3)