Empowering farmers and food processors for inclusive business model to enable them access regulatory licenses, market and funding
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
I was born and raised up in Kaduna state, did my elementary education in a private school but I had my secondary school in the state owned college (Government College Kaduna). I went further to study geography in University of Abuja (about 200km away) and came back to serve as a graduate. I selected Kaduna as my primary place of assignment because it’s my home, we speak same language and I feel the pain of the people living at the bottom of the pyramid (and of course, I’m one of them). I founded NaFarm Foods as an enterprise in 2015 about two months to my final examination in the university to address agricultural and rural developmental deficiencies across the state
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
Kaduna State shaded Red in map of Nigeria
Kaduna state is situated in north central part of Nigeria with population of about 6,113,503 according to 2006 census with a projection to shoot above 9million by 2020, the city is multilingual but majority speak Hausa as native language while English remain an official language. Unemployment for the youths is at its peak while majority are embracing farming and agribusiness across different value chain as a means of sustenance.
Kaduna state produces varieties of foods which include tomatoes, pepper, bell pepper, watermelon, cucumber, cabbage, cowpea, groundnuts, yam, sweet potatoes, cassava, ginger etc. more interestingly, Kaduna state is the largest producer of tomatoes in Nigeria but postharvest losses ravage about 45% of the annual yield but this problem is spread across the entire country. While these problems have attracted many interventions recently such as the YieldWise project by Rockefeller Foundation, GEMS4 project (Growth and Employment in States) by UKAID, GAIN projects on cold chain and returnable plastic crates for fruits and vegetables etc. while these projects are reported to be successful based on their mission, the common man hardly feel their impacts which calls for initiative to address the challenges faced by those at the heart of food production, processing and consumption in the region such as smallholder farmers, cottage food processors and the average consumers
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
In Nigeria, about 51.3million tons of food goes to waste every year worth $29m, meanwhile there are about 12.9million hungry people across the country according to FAO 2016 statistics and we also import foods worth N1.9trn/annum. Reference: http://www.fao.org/nigeria/fao-in-nigeria/nigeria-at-a-glance/en/.
With our growing population of over 200million, resources are becoming thinner and Kaduna state alone has grown from about 6.2million since 2006 to over 9million while food security is becoming a threat while depending wholly on importation is at the detriment of job opportunities in the region.
At the moment, Africa is stuck right at the bottom of global value chains. We only produce and export commodities that have very little value but depend so much on finished or value-added products for our consumption. This is why Africa is always seriously affected whenever there is a price fall in the commodity market. For instance, when the prices of cocoa beans fell, Ghana and Ivory Coast lost over $1 billion each just in a swoop. But what if they were processing these cocoa beans into chocolate and its derivatives? Obviously, they wouldn’t be so affected by the commodity price crash. Whereas the price of coffee beans keeps plummeting, the price of coffee drinks at Starbucks keeps increasing. The result is that Africa’s participation and earnings in global value chains keep plummeting with falling prices of commodities. However, this is obviously not any good news for Africa. We can’t keep remaining at the bottom of global value chains. We must move right to the top. To do that, we will need to build cottage industries.
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
My initiative is adopting a radical approach to solving the deficiencies in agric sector in my region, through;
- Training and grooming of cottage processors and also providing inclusive model to support smallholder farmers and the cottage processors for effective food production, processing and packaging by linking them with accredited processing facilities where they can process, package and acquire required licensing to enable them reach wider market
- Providing digital inclusion through our ecommerce website (http://farmgate.com.ng) to enable farmers and processors access larger market and also investments from consumer’s savings through our e-wallet scheme.
While our proposed “food bank” system on our digital platform will enable consumers save funds budgeted for feeding and will enable them purchase food as long as their e-wallet (accessible to them via food Master/Visa Card) is funded and when out of cash we will provide credits to consumers in proportion to their savings record or frequency while accumulated funds will be used to fund food producers and processors and farmers to produce
High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.
Solving these problems is important because it will improve the livelihood of;
- Smallholder farmers: they will have access to larger markets and funding to scale
- People living in rural communities: they will be engaged in agricultural-economic activities
- Underserved members of the society; such as women and people living with disabilities will be trained and engaged in food processing across various value chain
- Youths through employment and engagement in agribusiness
And hunger will be eliminated across the region because foods will be distributed directly from farmers making it more affordable while our fin-tech service (consumers savings system) will enable every consumers earn on savings which will equally be used to supply them foods at discounted rate
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
Training women on tomato processing and packaging at Kabala West Alheri Multipurpose Cooperative Society Ltd in Kaduna State, Nigeria
Our primary objective is to revolutionize agricultural practices in Nigeria, end hunger and poverty starting in our target region replicating the models across Nigeria and eventually reaching other parts of Africa. Our primary focus is to work with grassroots organizations such as women groups, cooperatives and associations to enable women and youths become drivers of economic prosperity through agribusiness