“Selling grain is an important source of income for most farmers. But it can also be for you as Implementers… To ensure you succeed as Implementers, AgResults is ready to expose and link you to all available resources in cultivating and marketing aflatoxin-reduced maize.”
-Adebowale Akande, Pilot Manager
Smallholder farmers often face challenges that call for novel approaches that are both, readily available and appropriate to their environments. The AgResults Nigeria AflasafeTM Pilot project has successfully demonstrated how innovative private sector efforts can greatly influence smallholder farmers’ access to knowledge and technologies that effectively enhance production, improve health and result in greater farm income.
With the 5 year objective to scale up the impact generated through this project, the Nigeria AflasafeTM Pilot team held an induction ceremony to welcome 15 new Implementers into the pilot’s third year of implementation. During the May 5-7 induction ceremony, Implementers received training on aflatoxin management through the use of Aflasafe™, maize agronomy practices, post-harvest management, and agribusiness. Through the incorporation of these new Implementers, smallholder farmers in Edo, Katsina, Kogi, Ogun, Jigawa, and Enugu States as well as FCT Abuja will join their counterparts to use Aflasafe™ and produce high quality grain.
Since its inception in 2013, the pilot project team has been working with private-sector actors (known as Implementers) to promote the use of Aflasafe™. Aflatoxin contaminated grain is toxic and can also be carcinogenic. This product, developed by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and partners, is a biological control agent proven to reduce aflatoxin contamination in maize and groundnuts by 80-99%. The role of the Implementer is to encourage adoption of Aflasafe™ and facilitate access to technical knowledge and inputs that boost high-quality production of smallholder farmers. Each Implementer is expected to engage at least 300 farmers annually and receives a premium when the maize produced by their participating smallholder farmers leads to high quality, aflatoxin-free maize.
In the last two years, Implementers have assisted over 4,000 smallholder farmers in the production of grain with aflatoxin contents far below the limits set by the US and Europe. A year after launch, data collected showed that participating farmers had twice the normal yield of 1.5 tons per hectare and sold maize significantly over the prevailing market price. Upon these initial results, the Pilot Manager and Secretariat developed and delivered a marketing campaign that resulted in the recruitment of 15 additional Implementers. The increased number of Implementers in the country, now reaching a total of 24, will help expand reach and scale up the impact of this approach on smallholder farmers’ income and health.