Gates Foundation funds financing for Nigerian smallholders

The grant, allocated to AGRA's Micro Reforms for African Agribusiness in Nigeria project, will help farmers access the value chain.

The non-government organisation Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has allocated $700,000 of funding to its Micro Reforms for African Agribusiness in Nigeria (MIRA) project, aimed at helping smallholder farmers access better inputs, agricultural value chains and improve the private investment environment in Nigeria for agriculture.

MIRA, which has been allocated financing from a $10 million grant made to AGRA by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation last year, is also advising the government on reforms intended to open up Nigeria’s agribusiness environment to foreign investors.

Eighty-one percent of Nigerian land is dedicated to agriculture, yet 24 percent of its growing population is undernourished, according to the FAO. Agriculture made up 24 percent of the country’s GDP in 2014, the last year for which the FAO provides the information.

In the opinion piece, Africa’s challenging path to becoming an agri superpowerJuraj Neuwirth, an associate at law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, said: “Particular difficulties facing investors in Africa are lack of infrastructure, limited fertiliser use and poor seed quality in addition to wider developing market problems like corrupt bureaucracy and uneducated local labour.”