A lack of access to modern equipment often limits productivity on smallholdings in rural Nigeria, which in turn affects farmers’ incomes. The Propcom Mai-karfi programme is helping to address this. Among other actions, it is providing agricultural machinery and training to help farmers reduce losses at harvesting time. The programme is funded by the UK Government with UK Aid from the British people.
Adding value for our client
Our client needed multi-grain threshing machines and had very specific and detailed technical requirements. Therefore, as part of the procurement process, we arranged a client demonstration of the thresher we recommended, giving them an opportunity to confirm its suitability. Additionally, we arranged free training and lubricating guns to be included as part of the deal, and for the operation manual to be translated into Hausa, the language spoken by the farmers.
“Mai-karfi is Hausa for ‘the powerful one’,” explains Bola Njoku, DPSA’s Country Manager for Nigeria. “The programme seeks to increase the incomes of Nigeria’s rural poor by making markets work better for them.”
The UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) asked DPSA to help with procuring multi-grain threshing machines for use by farming cooperatives. The machines had to be able to thresh sorghum, millet, maize and soya bean crops.
Finding the best-value way to meet the need
The Propcom team sought a high-efficiency thresher – to reduce wastage during crop processing – but the budget was relatively limited. After discussions with several vendors we identified a machine that could meet the specifications at a competitive price, and consulted agricultural experts to ensure it would be suitable for use in Nigeria. We wanted our client to be confident that our recommended model would meet their requirements, and so arranged a client demonstration in Lagos, where PropCom staff could observe it in operation.
“As the harvesting season had already passed, finding grains for the threshing demonstration was a challenge but we did it,” says Akintoye Oyeyele, Logistics and Supply Chain Manager for DPSA in Nigeria. “It meant our client saw the machine at work and so we got the go-ahead to procure that model.”
Adding value for our client
To derive greater value for money, DPSA negotiated with the supplier to provide training, free of charge, on using the threshers. As this needed to be conducted in Hausa, the language spoken by the farmers, we arranged for the operation manual – originally supplied in English and Portuguese – to be translated. Lubricating guns, to keep the machines in good order, were also provided at no additional cost.
Improving farmers’ livelihoods
Being able to undertake mechanised threshing will reduce the time, labour and cost of harvesting for the farmers, while increasing the efficiency of the processing. Propcom anticipates that over the course of one season, at least 1,000 farmers will receive threshing services from the cooperatives and save NGN200 per bag of crops compared to manual threshing. This means that, for example, a farmer producing 100 bags in one season will save NGN20,000. This is approximately equivalent to one month’s pay at Nigeria’s current national minimum wage, or enough money to buy 200kg (four bags) of fertiliser, which should help the farmer’s production in the following season.
More productive harvesting should also enable rural farmers to take part in the Anchor Borrowers Programme, a support programme run by the Government of Nigeria that promotes formal partnerships between cooperative farmers and off-takers (buyers of future crops). The aim is to help smallholders grow from subsistence to commercial farming in the long term.
As DPSA’s Bola Njoku notes: “The Propcom Mai-karfi project is giving people a better livelihood on their doorstep, and cutting wastage too.”