|SEEDS & FERTILIZER|
Better access to seed and fertilizer can greatly improve food security and farm productivity in Nigeria. Farmers, in turn, have a greater chance of profiting from the use of modern seed and fertilizer if they are readily available, are of high quality, are used effectively, and can produce a strong return on investment. However, the use of high quality seed and fertilizer is limited because there are very few seed companies and an underdeveloped network of agro-dealers. Without these, agricultural productivity will remain low, and Nigerian farmers will be unable to exploit the growing demand for grain and other raw materials needed by the expanding agro-processing industry.
MARKETS is working with partners to expand the commercial seed industry. At the same time, we are helping to strengthen the fertilizer industry, which is opening up to private sector management and becoming increasingly demand-driven.
In collaboration with IFDC, MARKETS is supporting the development of input markets in targeted value chains. We are also promoting policy reform around inputs, particularly fertilizer. The private sector is key to this process; therefore, we are working to strengthen its capacity to serve farmers more efficiently and to become a stronger advocate for policy reform.
Input Dealer Development
MARKETS will engage and expand the network of dealers being set up by IFDC. This will allow new technologies and fertilizers to be introduced and recommended. Partners include the Fertilizer Producer and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN), National Agro-Dealer Support (NADS), National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA), National Programme for Food Security (NPFS) and Notore Chemical Industries Limited.
Input Technology Transfer Program
Many new agricultural technologies have recently been introduced to Nigeria through pilot projects. MARKETS will support and expand this effort through its network of agro-dealers and farmer groups. Examples of technologies to be transferred include: urea briquettes for transplanted rice production, soil test kits, and improved cassava varieties.
MARKETS is supporting the West Africa Seed Alliance (WASA) to establish a sustainable commercial seed industry capable of ensuring farmers' access to adapted traits in high quality seeds and planting materials is affordable, timely and reliable. Furthermore we are working together to improve the commercial distribution network so that both seeds and complementary inputs - such as fertilizer - are readily available in rural areas.
We work with our partner to address the scarcity of seed and fertilizer by identifying agro-dealers who are trained by a cadre of commercial trainers. Trained agro-dealers are linked to input supply companies and conduct product demonstrations that expose farmers to new products and stimulate demand.
Seed Enterprise Development
For commercial seed enterprises to flourish they need to be able to provide novel products to farmers. WASA is supporting both public research institutes and commercial seed companies to improve seed quality through better maintenance breeding. At the same time, WASA is facilitating the testing of commercially available varieties to determine their suitability for the Nigerian environment, and is facilitating links between companies for marketing.