Many Nigerian farmers and their families struggle to move from subsistence farming to small-scale commercial farming due to outdated farming practices and a lack of an agribusiness mindset. The support they have been receiving has largely failed to improve their production practices and link them to other actors in the value chain.
For 12 years, Making Cents International supported the development of a market-driven agricultural sector in Nigeria by improving the farming practices of more than 1 million rural farmers and their families and helping small-scale agricultural producers, processors, and input suppliers to become more commercially oriented.
Our flagship Agriculture Enterprise Curriculum focused on these issues. We developed it under the MARKETS I project through a partnership with World Bank’s FADAMA II initiative and the DFID-funded PropCom project. The delivery of the curriculum demonstrably fostered a demand-driven mentality and behavior change among farmers’ associations and other service providers. All producers who completed the training began to purchase planting inputs immediately after harvest, instead of right before planting, and they realized average cost savings of 43 percent. In addition, more than 80 percent of these producers waited several months post-harvest to sell their products, when the sale price was 35 percent higher.
Making Cents also provided training in enterprise development skills for local partners supporting caregivers of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). Our Livelihood and Nutrition Curriculum incorporated income generation, homestead farming, household asset management, cost-benefit analysis, and entrepreneurship, as well as integrated health and nutrition. Over a period of less than two years, we trained more than 100 local trainers in this curriculum who, in turn, trained 24,000 individuals caring for 100,000 OVC in 12 states.
Under the MARKETS II project, Making Cents had a broader capacity-building role. We ensured the relevance, accessibility, and scalability of existing training packages, including strengthening the capacity of local partners and project staff. We developed new tools that support improved agricultural production techniques and productivity. One of these tools was a standardized set of supplementary training materials and training guides for new and existing Packages of Practices (POPs) used by Nigerian agriculture extension agents for maize, sorghum, rice, soy, cassava, aquaculture, and cocoa value chains. We also supported the development of tools that lead farmers can use for step-down community trainings to reach scale.
To further support farmers, and their organizations, we developed and delivered a Group Dynamics curriculum. This curriculum supports farmer organization activities and leadership to expand beyond fertilizer subsidies to market oriented engagement.
Additionally, we developed the Nutrition Enhancement Curriculum, building on lessons learned from the delivery of the Livelihood and Nutrition Curriculum. This is a robust training package on household nutrition management that can serve as an add-on to existing trainings or as a stand-alone training. To broaden uptake, we also integrated key messages into the POPs.