World Bank tasks farmers on how to boost agriculture

Mechanised farming

Mechanised farming

A World Bank assisted programme in Africa, West Africa Agricultural Productivity Programme (WAAPP), has revealed that farmers do not need huge capital to be successful and maximise profit in agriculture.

This was stated during the last World Bank Support Mission visit to the Federal College of Agriculture, Akure (FECA) adopted communities and schools, where it lauded the various projects embarked upon by WAAPP-FECA.

Leader of the delegation, Prof. Victoria Ayuba, said the level of projects going on was a pointer to the fact that people can start making profit in agriculture if they start with little capital.

Ayuba, who is the current Dean, College of Forestry and Fishery, University of Agriculture, Makurdi, encouraged the people, especially the youth, that they could utilise the opportunities in the sector to be employers of labour.

“Many people often complain that finance is the major constraint against their involvement in the scheme, but I can tell you emphatically, that is not true. With very little money, they can start something very big in agriculture,” she said.

The team was led by FECA Provost, Dr. Samson Odedina to inspect the institution’s agroshop and Biofort Restaurant, where the college community and students enjoy several agro-products value chain opportunities.

Also, the Agricultural Research Outreach Centre (AROC) in Owode, Ibulesoro, Eleyowo were visited to inspect the fisheries, cassava value chain opportunities; and the adopted School, Aquinas College, Akure, where the students (Young Farmers Club) too are making money in agro-products.

The Dean noted that the essence of the visit was to evaluate and assess what the institution is doing with the World Bank assisted programme with member-countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to make agriculture more sustainable and productive.

“We have come to see the bio-gas being used in Ibulesoro; we have been to other places and we have seen how the farmers have adopted what they have been taught by the specialists and to see how the money that was given to them has been utilised.

“The story has been a successful one. The assessment has been wonderful; we went to the garri processing units and they are doing very marvelously well in terms of value added to the garri production, farmers’ empowerment, women that buy from the farmers and the marketers at various levels.”

According to them, “the farmers are already expanding on their own; all that WAAPP did was just to train them, they took the training and begin to adopt it, training themselves with it.

“So, they are expanding on their own; even if there is no WAAPP today, there is no cause for alarm because they are doing what they are supposed to do with very small capital: money is entering their pockets in several ways.”



1 Comment
  • Fanie Brink

    Food security is only achievable and sustainable if the production of food is profitable. In practical terms it means that food security is driven and created by profits and profits alone – there is no other way.
    The prices that farmers pay for their production inputs against that the prices that they received for their products (input/output price ratio} is and will remain one of the two main driving forces behind the successful commercial production of agricultural products.
    It is therefore a pity that almost all the major international donors who pump billions of dollars into Africa, believe that small-scale subsistence farmers can be developed as fully fledged commercial farmers by only increasing their efficiency (“productivity”) of production to achieve sustainable food security. While increasing the efficiency of production through new technological developments is the second main driver that can improve the profitability and sustainability of food production, it is not as important as the above mentioned input/output price ratio.
    Efficiency plays an important role during times when the prices of inputs are rising at a faster rate than the prices of agricultural products and it is in fact the only way a deteriorating input/output price ratio can be financially survived. It means that new technology must support and enable agricultural producers to either produce more products with the same level of inputs or produce the same quantity of products with less improved and high quality inputs.
    A problem, however, with increased efficiency can be caused by farmers who produce themselves out of the market, as it happened in the maize industry in South Africa, because the result is surpluses. Then it has a very negative effect on the prices that farmers receive for their products which means that the production area planted to that crop must be scaled down.
    By ignoring the major thrust of the input/output price ratio is the main reason why small subsistence farmers will not develop as fully fledged commercial farmers and it is undoubtedly also the most important reason why Africa will never be in a position to produce enough food for himself.
    The correct application of these two drivers in combination is known as the “optimum level of production” which is the most important principle that determines the highest profitability and sustainability of commercial agricultural production as it also incorporates all the other agricultural disciplines.

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