Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity Supports Social Enterprise to Increase Rice and Soybean Production for 500 Smallholder Farmers
Farm on Wheels is a social enterprise that works with smallholder farmers in hard-to-reach rural communities of Niger State, Nigeria. The enterprise provides agricultural input credits to smallholder farmers in the form of seeds, fertilizers and agrochemicals, while also guaranteeing markets for farmers through a well-coordinated system.
To improve yield for farmers and ensure optimum supply of rice and soybean production, Farm on Wheels planned to disburse input loans worth over 24 million Naira ($58,151) to 500 smallholder farmers, including 100 youth during the 2021 wet and dry seasons, which fall between May 2021 to April 2022. To build staff capacity in preparation for the loan disbursements, the enterprise partnered with the five-year Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity, a USAID-funded activity implemented by Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA) that works to strengthen the enabling environment for agribusiness finance and investment in Nigeria.
In August 2021, the Activity facilitated a master training for ten Farm on Wheels staff and extension agents, strengthening their knowledge and capacity on good agronomic practices for rice and soybean production. The training covered critical topics for supporting smallholder farmers such as communications, ethical work practices, good agronomic practices, group dynamics, leadership strategies, data collection and environmental compliance.
Farm on Wheels’ field officer, Jennifer Ahnole, recalled her key takeaways after the training, noting, “The knowledge and skills I gained from this training will enable me to improve my field activities with farmers. I have resolved to take responsibility for my personal development and to keep improving my work.” She then highlighted how she has increased her environmental consciousness to ensure that possible negative environmental effects from farming activities are mitigated or eliminated.
Her colleague, William Bello, also a field officer, reinforced the group’s commitment to work as a team to achieve the goals and objectives of Farm on Wheels.
“My perception of work has changed,” he said. “I have improved communication with my team and can now engage better with the extension agents and farmers.”
The training enabled the Farm on Wheels staff and extension agents to cascade the information and skills they learned to 60 additional lead farmers in the Farm on Wheels out-grower network. The leads were then supported to deliver the training to the 500 smallholder farmers targeted for the enterprise’s 2021 wet and dry season input loans. The cascaded trainings are expected to introduce soybean and rice production best practices, enabling smallholders to obtain optimum yields and increased profits.
Over the next two years, the Activity will continue to support and improve the enabling environment and groups, such as Farm on Wheels, to deliver wholesome financial and business development support services to smallholder farmers in Nigeria, improving incomes, ensuring food security and tackling hunger.