Agriculture is a major contributor to Nigeria's GDP after oil and gas. Smallholder farmers play a dominant role in this sector. Over 90% of farmers in Nigeria are smallholder farmers. Apart from wheat import, 98% of food consumed in Nigeria are produced by collective inputs of the smallholder farmer. Despite their huge contribution to the nation's economy. Vast majority of smallholder farmers who are majorly rural dwellers lives in extreme poverty.
The problems presented in this challenge is well established, However, the solutions to solving these problems in the context of Nigeria needs to be given second thought. Nigeria is suffering majorly due to lack of infrastructures that is needed to drive various sector of the economy. This is one of the main reason why, despite huge potentials that Nigeria has, it is unable to attract foreign investment and likewise many other Africa countries. In other to solve the problem faced by our smallholder farmers. We need to come up with pragmatic, scalable and affordable solutions that will increase crop yield, better the life of the smallholder farmers and transform our rural area. Our approach to solving this challenge requires that we adopt a strategic approach. From our findings as well as academic research, we observed that problems faced by smallholder farmers are as a result of some fundamental problems. We want to solve these challenges in order of complexity starting from those that are basic and fundamental.Our solution will lay a foundation to easily tackle subsequent challenges. Our solutions are as follows:
Creation of framework to maximize smallholder farmer's harvest: We want to create channels in strategic locations for the smallholder farmers. These channels will enable the smallholder farmers to sell their produce at standardize price no matter the volume of their harvests. We will create platform where buyers will buy it for real value. We shall also create processing facilities where the harvest would be processed to increase its value. We shall also create storage systems to buffer for the period when harvest is low. The problems this will solve includes elimination of middlemen that purchases harvest at prices that are not favorable to the local farmers, especially when harvest is at its peak and there is huge supply of farm produce which forces the farmers to sell their produce at any offered price since they do not have the means to preserve it. It will also reduce the cost of logistics. This solution will help to improve coordination within the value chain of rural farmers which will eventually supports sustainable food production, reduces post-harvest losses, and maximize the gains of the smallholder farmers. This solution will also be well distributed by creation of more channels and good management as other solutions depends on the efficiency and coordination of these channels
Production of cost efficient input: We shall create facilities for research and production of farm input. We shall use our channels to connect to our smallholder farmers, gather information from them by creating database of insightful information. Our channels shall also be responsible for conducting farm study. Insights from these studies will help us produce farm input that are optimal for high yields. Our channels will also provide quick distribution and easy access of these inputs at cost effective prices. Thirdly, We shall get feedback from the farmers to validate efficiency of provided inputs. This will help ensure that we build inputs geared towards the needs of the farmers. This solution will eliminate wastage on our part while ensuring high yield of farm produce. Our channels shall create farm extension programmes to teach the farmers on latest best practices. Farmers would be able to afford it to increase their yield as well as gain. The existence of our sales framework will ensure more gains to the farmers as they will have more to sell at standard price. The solution from this is more sustainable food production, more income for the farmers which is a precursor to rural transformation.
Evolution of farming and Industrialization: After we achieve, high yield and high income for the farmers, we shall focus on ensuring sustainability of food production against increasing population. We shall focus on mechanism to increase food production, food buffering system and anything that ensures sustainability and zero hunger. This would require technology which we will be able to afford by then.
We believe that this solution is best suited for Africa as we are still growing. We believe that this grant will give us the opportunity to get things right for our people especially the smallholder farmers. These people are our tribes and more than ever they need us to lead them.
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