HortiNigeria Annual Report

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This first annual report of the HortiNigeria program reflects on the progress made in the period of November 2021 through December 2022, as well as some of the challenges that were encountered along the way and how they were addressed. Over the course of the four-year program, HortiNigeria aims to facilitate the development of a sustainable and inclusive horticulture sector that contributes to food and nutrition security in Nigeria. The program builds on four components, targeting a broad range of functions and actors in the horticulture sector. The first component aims to increase productivity and income among smallholder farmers in Kano and Kaduna states. To contribute to this, in the first year of the program, 12,174 farmers (1,626 males, 1,098 females and 9,450 youth) and 30 agro-dealers (14 males, 1 female, 15 youth) have been trained on eco-efficient practices within HortiNigeria agribusiness clusters (ABCs). Trained smallholder farmers were exposed to digital solutions: how to access good agricultural practice (GAP) info on Grow How, radio broadcast programs, Ignitia weather forecasting services, and how to join the farmers’ Facebook and WhatsApp vegetable production groups for information sharing. Training agro-input dealers on such practices has expanded their businesses, enabling them to provide private extension services to 3,895 smallholder farmers. Difficulties encountered under this component include security threats and natural calamities. This report describes the measures taken to address these. The second component of the program sets out to pilot production system innovation and regional diversification with entrepreneurial farmers in Ogun and Oyo states. In the first year of the program, 20 innovations were identified, which will be scaled to 525 (35 males, 48 females, 442 youth) entrepreneurial farmers. Dialogues with stakeholders on piloting production innovations and identifying market opportunities have fostered networking and strengthened informal associations among young tech-savvy entrepreneurial farmers. Challenges encountered in implementing this component include high interest rates on credit, natural calamities, and farmer conflicts with pastoralists due to grazing on farmland. Proposed mitigation measures include collaboration with the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC), and meteorological services. To increase access to finance for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which is the objective of the third program component, discussions and meetings with financial institutions have revealed opportunities to be explored with targeted actors in the horticultural space. The progress of this component has been impacted by staffing issues, which have now been resolved. To enhance sector coordination and business-to-business (B2B) linkages under the program’s fourth component, HortiNigeria brokered B2B linkages for over 2,000 actors. The focus on B2B linkages and partnerships gained momentum, as 69 B2B opportunities were identified in the input and output markets. To address policy environment concerns, HortiNigeria consulted with several stakeholders, bolstering connections among key players and inspiring public-private action on policies such as the new tomato policy of 2017 and 2021. Overall, HortiNigeria’s targeted interventions have catalyzed sustainable results in crop production and productivity, increased income, market access, and better coordinating structures.
Smallholder farmers, Productivity