Nigerien Producers and Businesses Participate in Technology and Innovation Market
On a hot sunny day in early June, 2023, hundreds of local producers, businesses, nongovernmental organizations, a local university and government officials gathered in Maradi, Niger, to participate in the inaugural Technology and Innovation Market, facilitated by the Feed the Future-funded USAID Yalwa activity. Featuring more than 207 different exhibits showcasing emerging agricultural technologies and innovations, the event aimed to create a space for groups to identify opportunities to work with and learn from each other to increase yields, improve product quality and boost sales, enhancing Niger’s agriculture sector.
Events like these are critical to USAID Yalwa’s approach of strengthening market systems, with farmers and entrepreneurs like Ali Sayabou from Maradi being able to connect with people—many coming from other regions like Dosso, Niamey, and Zinder—that can help drive their operations to next level. Exhibitors promoted a variety of technologies related to food processing, agricultural inputs and animal and animal feed production, with Balami sheep, processed products, seeds and fertilizers recorded as the most sought-after items. For Sayabou, this was a great opportunity for him to connect with input and technology suppliers and learn how to use incubator technologies to expand his chicken coop.
“I was really impressed with the Technology/Innovation fair this year,” he said. “Exhibitors showcased an incredible array of advanced agricultural technologies. I particularly enjoyed the demonstration of the solar-powered irrigation pumps and the large incubators. The company representatives were very knowledgeable and ready to answer all my questions. Overall, it was a rewarding experience, and I came away with lots of ideas to modernize my operation.”
Reaching a total of approximately $7,000 (4,135,050 FCFA) in sales and fostering 134 new business relationships, the market was a success. This coming together of different market actor allowed groups like N-DEV, a Nigerien nongovernmental organization, to sell poultry incubators, dryers, mills and solar-powered irrigation pumps in mass to buyers, generating significant profits. Furthermore, 46 youth entrepreneurs who were recipients of USAID Yalwa’s Marketplace Entrepreneurship and Youth Entrepreneurship for Rural Innovation grants established business relationships with exhibitors and increased their familiarity with the innovative technologies presented at the event.
With a lot of positive feedback, many participants requested that the Technology and Innovation Market become an annual event to continue fostering important linkages across markets, businesses, and technology providers. Following the event, USAID Yalwa has begun monitoring the relationships built and business deals made at the fair, with the goal of developing a joint plan with other implementing partners and stakeholders to scale the accessibility of technologies more broadly across the activity’s areas of intervention.
By helping businesses meet and partner with other businesses, the USAID Yalwa activity is working to build more sustainable livelihoods, promote knowledge exchange between market players and increase agricultural producers’ access to new markets and technologies. This is particularly important when it comes to affordable quality food, with strengthened linkages contributing to greater access for rural families and communities.