Civil Society Groups For Good Governace (CCSGGG) Demystifies The Fadama Project

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A coalition of Civil Society Organizations under the aegis of Civil Society Groups for Good Governance (CSGGG), has waded into the FADAMA affair in a definitive attempt to balance the narrative in the public domain.

Addressing the nation during a press conference on Tuesday the 6th of April 2021 at the nation’s capital, president of CSGGG – Comrade Ogakwu Dominic Ogakwu – laid bare the details of the project, by undamming a flood of project information which was hitherto shrouded in mystery.

Says he The controversy trailing the FADAMA project has necessitated this press briefing. The public domain has been inundated with all sorts of fallacious conspiracy theories, so much so that the ordinary Nigerian has been left in a quandary about the actual state of the nation.

Such a conundrum of disinformation and misinformation is the stuff of fake news, which is currently threatening the sanity of our polity. If this ugly trend is not nipped in the bud early enough, the fragile unity in diversity which Nigeria currently enjoys will soon be destroyed.

As champions of the fight against the spread of fake news therefore, it behooves the CSGGG to balance the narrative and set the records straight via an investigation into and objective reportage of the goings-on at FADAMA.”

Digging deep into the past, the coalition’s president – Comrade Ogakwu Dominic – took Nigerians on a ride down the FADAMA memory lane by reliving the history of the World Bank Project.

In his words, FADAMA I which was the first of the series, started in 1990 with a design to bring basic irrigation and productive support to farmers in selected Nigerian states. 

FADAMA II followed in 2003, introducing a groundbreaking Community-Driven Development (CDD) model to Nigeria’s rural areas and helping to institutionalize local stakeholder engagement in community decision making.

FADAMA III interventions began in 2009, during which time the Project’s geographical scope was expanded, so that it became a well-known National Brand of Local Agricultural Development Project.

Please note that the FADAMA III Project was originally approved by the Board on June 1, 2008, with a Credit facility of US$250 million, became effective on March 23, 2009 and closed by December 31, 2013.

Despite the successes so far recorded, the government saw that a lot still needs to be done if rural farmers are to benefit from this world bank scheme. So the government requested an additional financing for special interventions.

The World Bank responded to the request of the Government for more support, by providing additional financing to the FADAMA III project, in order to meet the urgency of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA).

The Board approved additional IDA credit of USD 200 million on June 28, 2013, with the objective to assist the Federal Government of Nigeria to scale up impacts on the ground and strengthen the development effectiveness of the Third National FADAMA Development Project, by aligning it more closely with the then Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA).”

Fleshing it out, ComradeOgakwu went on This additional financing (AFI) used business approach model that supported clusters of farmers in the initial six selected States, who produce crops with comparative advantage and high potential to increase production and productivity, like; Cassava, Rice, Sorghum and Tomato value chains and thereafter linked them to better-organized markets (middle and large scale processors) through off taking arrangements.

The states which participated in the Additional Financing (AFI) scheme were, Anambra, Enugu, Kano, Kogi, Lagos and Niger–Core States, while additional twenty-eight (28) States including FCT (Production Clusters States) also benefitted from the project having met the set criteria. On average, the project was expected to reach 317,000 direct beneficiary households in clusters of farms and 1.4 million indirect beneficiaries across the country.

A Second Additional Financing (AFII) with a credit facility of USD50 million was approved by the Bank for humanitarian initiatives and restoration of livelihood of the people affected by insurgency, in the six North East (NE) States of Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba, Bauchi, and Gombe.

For emphasis, the first Additional Financing (AF I) scheme operated in 540 LGAs across 33 States and FCT, while the Second Additional Financing (AF II) operated in 108 LGAs of the six northeastern States of the country.”

Connecting the dots between investment and returns-on-investment, Ogakwu said “As at press time, our independent project assessment report shows that 100% of the beneficiaries have increased their real income by at least 40%. Yield has risen from a baseline of 5.27t/ha to 28.42t/ha for cassava (249.53%), 2.83t/ha to 5.35t/ha for rice (89.05%), 1.54t/ha to 2.71t/ha for sorghum (75.98%), and 1.6t/ha to 12.25t/ha for tomato (665.63%).

These increases across the 4 value chains, represents an average of 575.13% which is far above the average of 40% targeted at the onset of the project. The total hectares of land cultivated rose from 6,976ha at the MTR to 207,160ha – comprising Cassava (18,936 ha), Rice (132,717 ha), Sorghum (39,865 ha) and Tomato (15,642 ha). These achievements were recorded due to the adoption of Good Agronomic Practices (GAP), Capacity building of farmers, engagement of Advisory services and inputs support consultants (ASIC), linkages to off-takers, etc.

Again, in 2019, cassava farmers under Fadama III, AF I and AF II realized more than N20.6 billion as revenue and a gross margin of N13 billion. In the same vein, rice, sorghum and tomato farmers realized a gross margin of N104.4 billion, N60.9 billion and N19.2 billion respectively, during the project’s life span. Hence, the FADAMA 111 series have contributed substantially to the gross domestic product (GDP) and gross domestic income (GDI) of Nigeria from 2015 to 2019.

The livelihoods – crops, livestock, fisheries, and non-agricultural enterprises – of 32,480 farming households were restored in addition to receiving food assistance to the tune of 4,692 tons of rice, maize, beans and sorghum, 306,400 liters of cooking oil and 161tons of condiments, under the AF- II.

Altogether, about 950,400 days of work was provided the returnees and conflict-affected households, against the targeted 720,000 days.”

Taking a swipe at mischief makers peddling unfounded rumors of financial infractions during implementation of the FADAMA Series, the Comrade gave insight into the FADAMA coffers, by uncovering behind-the-scenes financial transactions unknown to the ordinary Nigerian. Hear him, “The savings in FUEF account as at the time of reporting was N609,189,766, saved from 305,048 assets worth N3,470,519,662 representing 17.55% of the value of assets. The FUEF management outlook is good as the sustainability purpose for which it was designed is being fulfilled, e.g. translating to the very first Famers-led Micro Finance Bank in Africa – the Plateau Fadama Farmers Micro Finance Bank –  while others like AkwaIbom, Ogun etc are at advanced stages of delivery.

These achievements were recorded via a total of 25,191 Business Plans developed across the value chains, with rice having the highest 13,896, followed by cassava with 4,363, sorghum with 3,841, tomato 2,042 and the least is processing with 1,049. Of these numbers of business plans, a total of 22,595 (89.7%) was approved, with 18,650 (82.5%) implemented.

A total of 200,241 farmers cultivating 198,327 hectares across the thirty-three (33) FADAMA III and first Additional Financing (AF I) participating States, procured advisory services out of the 221,187 farmers who received project grants, translating to 90.5% achievement against the target of 30%. This was disaggregated into 154,040 males and 46,201 (23.1%) females.

Moreover, 215,129 farmers cultivating 214,919 hectares across the participating States, procured inputs out of the 221,187 farmers supported, translating to 97.26% achievement as against the target of 60%. Across the value chain, 18,626 were cassava farmers, 131,305 were into rice production, 40,784 sorghum farmers and 24,414 were tomato farmers.

The FADAMA series also made substantial progress along the lines of community-owned rural infrastructure, such as the construction of 580.7km of double-layer surface dressed roads in 133Nos locations across the participating States.”

Addressing the issue of stakeholders’ collaborations to ensure accountability, effectiveness and transparency, the CSGGG president said, “Interestingly, FADAMA III AF deployed a Multi-Agency Partnership (MAP) Collaboration approach during implementation, to ensure that all relevant players in the agricultural sector were carried along. These included; National Agricultural Research Institutes (NARIs), National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), the Federal Department of Agricultural Extension (FDAE), National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), Upgrade of gene bank at Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR), Zaria; and support to Lake Chad Research Institute, among others.

To ensure timely access to affordable and quality planting materials for beneficiaries, the Fadama III AF Project was designed to promote Community Seed Production. To successfully implement this, the project signed an MoU with National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), to create a platform for the two parties to work together and implement seeds production/multiplication activities.

In the area of Public/Private Partnership (PPP) the FADAMA project collaborated withThe Africa Commodity Exchange (AFEX) Ltd, Machine and Equipment Corporation Africa (MECA) Ltd, NIRSAL/Anchor Borrowers Program (ABP) among others. 

“Furthermore,” Comrade Ogakwu went on, “Another laudable initiative of the FADAMA series is the Gene Bank scheme. Gene Bank is an archive containing records of crop genetic diversity. It plays a key role in the conservation, availability and use of a wide range of plant genetic diversity for crop improvement, food and nutrition security. The National Gene Bank domiciled in IAR, Zaria was upgraded to International standard, primarily to obviate the genetic resource material challenges confronting geneticists, especially in the zone and adequately equip the Research Institute to effectively and efficiently facilitate the establishment of Community Based Seed production system as well as provide foundation seed to beneficiaries. After the renovation of the Gene Bank, the center was equipped by the project, with state-of-the-art Gene Bank facilities.

Speaking of its ingenuity and innovative approach to perennial issues, Comrade Ogakwu noted, “A key accomplishment of the project is the adaptation of project structure and activities, in order to provide solution to national challenges – especially in graduate youth unemployment. For instance, 6,916 unemployed youth and women graduates who indicated interest to become agri-preneur were competitively selected by the project in 2017 and a total of 5,647 out of the 6,916 (representing 96%) were successfully revalidated.

The breakdown shows that 2,251 (40%) were for crop, 2,988 (53%) for livestock and 408 (7%) for non-farm enterprises. As at December 31, 2019, a total of N2.23B has been disbursed to 5,059 FADAMA beneficiaries, comprising 3,571 males (70.6%) and 1,488 females (29.4%). Results already being showcased by the first batch of beneficiaries (who employs a minimum of three workers each) presents a good opportunity for scaling up, reduction in unemployment, encouragement of youth in Agribusinesses, income-generating activities, etc.”

Ogakwu rounded up by providing data of the Project’s conflict resolutions mechanism. Says he, “Moreover, a total of 189,819 farmers/beneficiaries have been profiled and factored into the farmer database for AF I & II. Geo-referenced data of 170,609ha have been received and uploaded in the Geo-data base. All the 158 conflict cases reported in AF-I were resolved through the Grievances Redress Mechanism (GRM) in the communities. These grievances centered on land disputes with family members and cattle invasion of farms. Rice value chain had the highest (84) while infrastructure and sorghum had the least (2). In AF-II, 15 conflict cases were reported and resolved.”

With this interactive press conference/media parley and the avalanche of information therefrom, the Civil Society Groups for Good Governance (CSGGG) has effectively activated the Freedom of Information (FOI)Act and availed the ordinary Nigerian an opportunity to be in on the loop as regards the FADAMA Project, which has hitherto remained a mirage in the public space.

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Therefore, by fleshing out this erstwhile phantom called FADAMA, the CSGGG has now demystified the Project and equipped the public with the right tool for informed decision and by so doing, build social trust for the handlers of the FADAMAProject.

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