ABUJA, December 20, 2011— The World Bank and the Japanese government are partnering with the government of Nigeria to enhance productivity and market linkage of Fadama farmers through a new project on information and knowledge services. This project which aims to improve agricultural potential through the use of mobile-based agricultural advisory services will be piloted in four States of Cross River, Sokoto, Lagos and Yobe. A new grant from the World Bank/Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF) of US$2.743 million will be utilized for implementation over a period of four years from January 2012 to December 2015.
During her remarks at the formal launch of the project in Abuja on Tuesday, December 20, 2011, the World Bank Country Director, Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly expressed her delight at the pilot aimed at enhancing the agricultural potential of the rural poor. “Better access to information through improved information technology is expected to reduce marketing and transportation cost, encourage farmers to take informed risks and participate in markets. This is in line with the drastic change in information technology taking place across African markets.” said Marie-Nelly.
In his remarks, the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Ryuichi Shoji said, “I am encouraged by the announcement of new policies on agriculture by the Minister to revitalize and transform this crucial sector and I am looking forward to hearing good news on the project as it gets implemented in the next four years.”
The Honorable Minister of State for Agriculture, Alhaji Bukar Tijani praised the Fadama III team for impacting on the lives of the rural poor and communities through the successful Fadama project. “We have a mandate from His Excellency, Mr. President to ensure Nigeria stops the importation of rice in four years and to start exporting this important staple by 2018. I am confident that this new initiative for farmers would contribute to our achieving this.”
The Fadama Information and Knowledge Services (FIKS) project, which is focused on increasing productivity and rural household incomes in the poorest section of the Fadama community in the selected states of the hugely successful Fadama III project, is expected to deliver three main outcomes which are:
- The development of virtual agriculture and veterinary advisory services by linking Fadama farmers to experts through the provision of on line real time solutions to their problems;
- Provision of Fadama Information and Knowledge Services Centers in the selected states; and
- Effective monitoring, evaluation and dissemination of information to provide valuable lessons which, through communication and auditing, help to leverage the program impacts.
The target beneficiaries are:
- Fadama Farmers and Pastoralists: household farmers and pastoralists benefiting from online real time agricultural advisory and veterinary services.
- Fadama Community Association: Selected communities in the four selected states where the Information and Knowledge Services centers will be established.
The estimated number of direct beneficiaries of the FIKS centre activities is about 8700 farmers in the four states through a four year project life.
The inclusion of other States would depend on the success of the initial pilot in these four States.
The fund would target creation of an on-line registry of agricultural advisory experts, localized content development, virtual agricultural and veterinary advisory services, capacity building of Fadama Community associations, provision of timely and locally relevant information and knowledge services and establishment of a FIKS call centers.