The Convention on Business Integrity’s for-profit arm, CBi Innovations Limited (CBiIL) has chosen the SAP Rural Sourcing Management solution to support 850 000 small maize producers and integrate them into agricultural value chains.
The SAP solution includes a mobile application that tracks and collects data related to farms, crops, farmers and produce sales. Piloted in partnership with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), it has been used across Africa.
According to the World Bank’s development indicators, food insecurity increased from 6% of the Nigerian population in 2007 to 13.4% in 2017.
The agriculture sector is the largest contributor to the Nigerian economy and employs two-thirds of its workforce. However, food production is undermined by poor planting materials and insufficient use of fertiliser, leading to a growing reliance on food imports.
Pedro Guerreiro, MD of Central Africa at SAP, explained how support of smallholder farmers will provide greater food security while also empowering farmers to unlock greater economic opportunities. “Smallholder farmers cultivate plots that are on average 2ha in size and earn less than $1,000 a year.
We believe that by equipping them with better information and providing access to more suppliers and greater selling opportunities, we can improve smallholder farmers’ productivity and output.” said Guerreiro.
CBiIL is already working with Nestle Nigeria to build an ecosystem of young maize agripreneurs in partnership with AGRA, and has also trained hundreds of Community Livelihoods Information Field Entrepreneurs (LIFE) Agents, mainly unemployed graduates recruited from local communities.
Each LIFE agent will support between 50 and 100 smallholder farmers, utilizing an Android device with various installed applications. They will receive commission on the products and services, as well as a premium based on productivity growth.
With 60% of all jobs in Africa currently in the agriculture sector (an estimated 250 million smallholder farmers), the success of this initiative may also serve as a template for similar projects elsewhere on the Continent.