MADE Brings Succor To Farmers In Niger Delta

By Kenneth Orusi, The Nigerian Voice, Asaba

Respite has come the way of peasant farmers in the Niger Delta region through the instrumentality of the Nigeria Agricultural Enterprise Curriculum (NAEC), geared towards helping farmers to understand and get basic business skills.

With NAEC, farmers’ service providers who have embraced the initiative have gotten about 20-30 percent increase in profit compared to competitors who have not embraced the programme as it has a technical component which helps to equip farmers with the proper knowledge while the enterprise component teaches the farmer to run his/her farm as a business.

This is part of the Market Development in the Niger Delta (MADE), where stakeholders converged Tuesday in a Learning and Dissemination Workshop held in Asaba, Delta state.

Dr. Yemi Olukuyide, said some level of literacy was also needed for NAEC to be of benefit to the farmer who seeks knowledge to enhance his/her business enterprise whether in fishery, poultry, palm oil among other varieties of agro based businesses.

“It also includes records keeping; just write down what you did every day. Write down how much you spent, earned, what you did with it, who owes you. So, it a lot more practical intensive than theoretical, hinting that one of the major challenge NAEC has gone through is the unwillingness of people to pay for the knowledge before being trained, “however, people often do say they can now see the real value in it after the training”.

The Intervention Manger, fishery sector for the MADE Project, Roy Ndidi, said the project applies the Making Market Work for the poor approach, “what it means is we do not just directly engage in the intervention activities on the field instead we facilitate. We try to identify constrains which mitigate the growth of different sectors across the value chains we work with. We work across agricultural value chains; it cuts across palm oil, fishery, agro input, cassava and poultry, addressing those constrains, catalyzing change from those constrains into positivity for the sector ultimately improving and increases the incomes of the poor farmer”.

“When we got started we had less than five aquaculture service providers across the Niger Delta as 2014, but because of the potentials of being a service provider has, we have a total of 53 service providers across the Niger Delta. These service providers have been able disseminate better information and he been able to provide better access for input for over 23, 000 farmers across the Niger Delta; that is for the fishery sector and for MADE project, we have been able to hit much more than 250, 000 poor farmers lives, increasing their productivity by very good percentages”.

The Poultry Intervention Manager for MADE, Ayo Momodu, said the Market System Approach, which makes market work for poor look at problems that prevents farmers from accessing solutions themselves.

She said MADE worked with pharmaceutical companies who are already providing vaccination drugs and services in commercial cities, “we also helped them to develop their distribution channels so they can reach small holders poultry farmers”, disclosing that something similar was also done in the fishery sector.

She scored MADE high, “I will say that MADE has been very successful. We have reached over 150, 000 farmers in the first phase which ended in 2018. We are already in phase II, and our target is to reach 155, 000 people with increased income. This means that they must earn more than when we met them”.