Policy options for agricultural investments and governance of markets

In support of small-scale agriculture in Nigeria

Publication date: 22 August 2013
Author: Aderibigbes Olomola, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

This research report examines the role of policy in influencing corporate investment in agricultural land, production and primary processing with a view to unravelling two interrelated research questions:

  • How do both women and men smallholders experience corporate investments in agricultural land production and primary processing? 
  • And how do the policy and legislative environments shape corporate investments (both domestic and foreign) in agricultural land, production and primary processing in support of or in opposition to the interests of small-scale producers (with emphasis on women and other marginalized producers) and the ecosystems on which they depend?

The other important broad area of concern is how market governance is shaped in favor or against smallholder production. This in turn raises the question of how both women and men smallholders (as individuals and as part of organizations, with different levels of assets) experience poor market governance. How can improved market governance, in the form of regulation and incentives, build resilient, sustainable agriculture, which is inclusive of smallholders, provides benefits for women and can help to reduce poverty?

Key recommendations from the report

To achieve growth that includes women, sustain development in the sector and reduce poverty, the following policy actions are recommended:

  • The Land Use Decree of 1978 has to be reviewed to entrench women’s access and entitlement to land. 
  • Banks should make their services more accessible to women by designing products and services that meet their credit needs, including those from different religions and wealth groups.
  • Organizations such as the Association of Small-scale Agro-producers in Nigeria (ASSAPIN), the National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANT), the Nigerian Women Agro-Allied Farmers Association, and women involved in marketing associations should be consulted by the government and involved in the design of initiatives to support women entrepreneurs.
  • The private sector should be encouraged by the government to become involved in extension services. Such private sector entities include seed growers for extension services on seed utilization, fertilizer producers for extension on fertilizer use, agro-chemical dealers for extension on the use of chemicals and so on.
  • Producer associations should be encouraged to play a significant role in promoting agricultural investment in Nigeria.
  • Links between small-scale farmers and agribusiness firms should be encouraged so as to provide farmers with an outlet for marketing their products. Appropriate legislation should be put in place to support these links.
  • There is need to increase farmers awareness that farming is a business.
  • There is need to change the misperception among project beneficiaries that government money is free money.
  • The government should liaise with the private sector to provide the necessary capacity building for farmers to enable them adopt a business-orientation in operating their farms.
  • There is need to develop the capacity of the banks to design appropriate products for the promotion of agriculture and to enhance the capacity of their staff to assess the level of risk in lending to agriculture.

Related links

The Future of Agriculture: Synthesis of an online debate

The full set of reports and research from our GROW Campaign

Oxfam's work in Nigeria