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Microfinance and training in the agricultural sector

Food security through the promotion of smallholder farmers

With the Agriculture Project (AGRAR), AFOS strengthens the socio-economic situation of low-income families and improves the performance of micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in rural Nigeria.

Working closely with agri-oriented industries, livestock and crop farms, we contribute to the steady growth of the agricultural sector by training smallholder farmers in Nigeria. We are convinced that Nigeria’s small farmers are able to enable the country to become economically self-sufficient.

Training Smallholder Farmers in Nigeria

Nigeria needs 3 million new jobs a year

Nigeria’s population already numbers more than 200 million people and is growing rapidly. Lagos, the economic centre of West Africa with 26 million inhabitants, is growing by 3.5% annually, which is the size of Frankfurt. Due to the prevailing lack of infrastructure, health care and education, there is little prospect of secure employment, housing and basic social services. The country needs 3 million new and sustainable jobs every year.

Without a perspective for young people, however, urbanisation, violence and migration – also to Europe – will increase rapidly. Already in 2022, 60% of the population were young people aged 15 to 35. This is where AFOS comes in with its project work.

Potential of the economically active poor

Agriculture is the largest contributor to Nigeria’s GDP and employs two-thirds of the labour force. Smallholder farmers account for 90% of Nigeria’s total food production, yet poverty still affects most smallholder farmers in Nigeria. This is due to knowledge/skills gaps, limited access to finance, inferior inputs, outdated farming practices and poor access to markets. Our project work aims to reduce these deficits. Income is to be increased and stabilised through the training of small farmers as well as financial and technological interventions.

AFOS in Nigeria: Qualification of smallholder farmers

What we have already achieved

  • We supported the establishment of the MLDC training institute with the 8 key players in the microfinance sector in Nigeria
  • We actively supported the establishment of the Nigerian Microfinance Platform (NMP), which currently has 36 members and acts as the most important sector network and innovation driver.
  • Our partners have increased the number of microfinance customers tenfold to more than 6 million
  • 5 studies and 8 symposia were conducted on the topics of corporate governance, savings mobilisation, digitalisation, sector consolidation, agricultural finance finance and self-regulation.
  • More than 300 managers and junior staff were trained in management methods , each for around 50 days
  • More than 300 participants were trained in workshops on organizational development .
  • We have trained more than 2,250 smallholder farmers, of which more than 370 additional trainers underwent the Trainer Eligibility Qualification
  • 136 loan officers/branch managers from 62 microfinance banks across the country have received intensive training on agricultural finance – e-learning modules are currently being developed
  • We have qualified 57 semi-skilled employees for animal husbandry, agricultural technology and quality management in a 12-month dual training programme.
  • We are working with key partners in the sector to facilitate the establishment of an agricultural training college led by MLDC (to promote capacity building in agriculture)
  • 20 managers participated in microfinance exposure trips to Ghana, East Africa and Germany, resulting in cross-country collaboration
AFOS in Nigeria
AFOS in Nigeria: Qualification of smallholder farmers
AFOS in Nigeria: Excursions to Germany
AFOS in Nigeria: Story of Change
AFOS Nigeria

One of many success stories:

Idris Muhammed Amisu has to finance his studies at the Federal College of Education, Zaria. This was only possible because he increased the yield of his one-hectare rice farm tenfold at the Kwali Area Council in Abuja, which he achieved by completing the AFOS training for small farmers and the subsequent training.

“Before these two trainings, I produced 2-3 bags of rice per hectare, but now it’s 25 bags.”

Cecilia Omoagbor has developed her fish farm into a company with an integrated value chain. She owes this to the training she received from the AFOS Foundation. Cecilia has improved her business and with it her income and lifestyle. A qualified and practicing farmer trainer, Cecilia now trains other young fish farmers in her community and beyond.

“Currently, I can successfully hatch, grow, process, package and market my products.”

What we continue to do concretely to promote the training of smallholder farmers in Nigeria and to strengthen the agricultural sector:

  • We promote technology-based agriculture for young entrepreneurs
  • We strengthen the organizational development of our partners by contributing to thecapacity development of middle management in growing microfinance and agricultural companies
  • We are developing new dual training systems in agriculture
  • We train leaders in soft skills and provide technical support to strengthen management in the agricultural industry
  • We develop new products and carry out the resulting training and awareness-raising activities for the microfinance sector
  • Through training and technical assistance, we aim to accelerate the granting of loans for agricultural purposes
  • We advise and strengthen our project partners at all levels, including regulation, strategy, networking and distribution, to ensure the economic sustainability of the partner institutions.
AFOS in Nigeria: Qualification of smallholder farmers
AFOS in Nigeria: Training smallholder farmers

AFOS partner organisations in Nigeria:

  • The CBN, as the regulator, values our strengths in innovation and networking to govern, regulate and strengthen the fledgling microfinance sector for good governance and financial inclusion.
  • The supported microfinance banks with 12,000 employees represent about half of the regulated sector with more than 6 million micro and small enterprises as customers.
  • The agricultural partner companies with 10,000 employees focus on the soy, corn and rice value chains as well as aquaculture.



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