Since we began working together in 2016, 8,200 farmers have participated in 2SCALE training programs. Many more have benefited indirectly, picking up farming skills from the trainees. Yields and quality have improved, and hundreds of farmers have made the transition from subsistence to market-oriented agriculture.
A few years ago, I grew sorghum not to sell but only to feed my animals. Today I can sell on the market for 10,000 Naira per 100-kg bag. And when I sell to Nestle, because the quality of my grain has improved, I can get 10% or even 20% above local market price
Bashir Umar, small-scale sorghum farmer in Kano state.
The program began by mapping the sorghum value chain actors: farmers, aggregators, seed and fertilizer suppliers, financial institutions and others. Sorghum ‘clusters’ were established in three states: Funtua in Katsina, Kuki in Kano and Soba in Kaduna. Farmers were mobilized and registered in groups. Nine learning-and-demonstration plots were established. Every group was trained, first on production methods, and later on other aspects such as business practice. Groups were linked to financial institutions and input suppliers.
Women farmers were particularly encouraged: 27% of ‘our’ farmers are women, and three of the nine learning plots are exclusively managed by women.
2SCALE field teams helped farmer groups understand Nestle’s requirements in terms of volumes, quality and delivery schedules. As many as 47 producers’ organizations now have formal contracts with the company’s agents and aggregators. Nestle has purchased more than 6,000 tons to date, and aims to locally source its entire requirements of 7,000 tons per year.
than 1,000 farmers have
been able to access improved sorghum seeds and blended fertilizer on credit. Partnerships
were key – Nestle, through its aggregators, gave farmers formal supply contracts;
and financial institutions (notably LAPO microfinance bank and the Bank of
Agriculture) provided input loans on the strength of these contracts.
Sorghum farmer Bashir Umar explains how the Nestle partnership has impacted the community. “Previously, farmers worked individually, not as a cooperative. Yields were as low as 10 bags per hectare, and profits were very small. Today we harvest 20-25 bags per hectare.” And it’s not just yields that have improved, but quality and price as well. “We sell as a group. So the company agent gets his entire requirement at one place, and we get a higher price because our quality is good. Everyone works together, and the cooperative is becoming stronger every season.”