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Tribune Online
Reason govt must pay attention to smallholder farmers —Masha, Co-founder, Babban Gona Ltd


Can you share with us what Babban Gona is all about?

Babban Gona is a Hausa word for “Great Farm”, and we are an award winning, high impact, financially sustainable and highly scalable social enterprise, party-owned by the farmers we serve. Babban Gona was founded in 2012 borne out of a vision to end insecurity, and to solve the rapidly rising youth unemployment indices within the country. Considering the high level of unemployment and its risk of doubling in years to come, we realised that Nigeria had to focus and leverage its gifts of land, water, labour and markets to become a global agricultural powerhouse, unlock its full economic potential and thereby create millions of needed jobs. We found a way of putting an end to insecurity in the country by ensuring that the youth are gainfully employed. To this end, we have built and sustained our partnerships with smallholder farmer members by providing them access to enhanced, high quality, cost-effective training, financial services, agricultural inputs and marketing services. We believe that by supporting and ensuring the growth of the agricultural sector, Nigeria’s economic future will be secured. We have a vision of making one million member farmers more money by 2025.


What makes Babban Gona different from other digital agricultural platforms?

Babban Gona’s franchise model is the major thing that sets us apart from other digital agricultural platforms. Our trust groups are a unique model that helps us keep track and ensure accountability on the part of our member farmers. This way we are able to measure impact and control the growth of our farmers. Through these networks of grassroots level farmer cooperatives, we help them solve their underlying problem of low economies of scale. In summary, we do not just pay attention to the farming aspects of the lives of our farmer members but recognise that there are many grassroot leaders, who do not necessarily possess professional management and funds. We use the power of franchising to find them and bring the missing pieces together through training and development this is what makes us different.


 Some agric stakeholders believe most digital agricultural platforms are more of ponzi scheme, what is your reaction to this?

We do not agree, although we cannot entirely control people’s perception on matters like this. However, we know that there are real digital agricultural platforms, one of which we are, that are trying to improve the agricultural sector in Nigeria. We would like to encourage everyone to be sure about the legitimacy of any platform, their sustainability and track record for success before venturing in.


What is your assessment of Nigeria’s agricultural sector?

Nigeria’s agricultural sector can be a lot more than it is now with a lot of potential yet harnessed. We have asked ourselves at Babban Gona “What sector could unlock the most jobs for these young people?” and the answer for us remains expanding smallholder agriculture. We see so many opportunities that the sector holds, not just regarding food security but in causing a major growth in the economy and dramatically cutting down the problem of unemployment, thereby reducing the level of youth who are lured to join insurgent groups. Nigeria has to give priority to increase productivity within the sector and the best way to do this is to pay attention to the group of people who we refer to as the backbone of the sector, the  smallholder farmers.


 What will be your advice to the government on how to develop agriculture which is widely believed to be one of Nigeria’s most important economic pillars.

As already stated above, we believe that smallholder farmers are an integral part of the sector and that if these individuals are empowered through training, provided support through planting and connected with the markets, their productivity and incomes can be impacted significantly such that they can scale their land holdings, and produce even more. Therefore, we advice and encourage that the government pays attention to these group of people to not just transform the sector and produce positive rollover effects within the economy as well.

Reason govt must pay attention to smallholder farmers —Masha, Co-founder, Babban Gona Ltd
Tribune Online

source https://tribuneonlineng.com/reason-govt-must-pay-attention-to-smallholder-farmers-masha-co-founder-babban-gona-ltd/

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