Thousands of maize and soy farmers in Katsina and Kaduna states will benefit from the collaboration between the West African Soy Industries Limited (WASIL) and the Business Innovation Facility (BIF) to enhance maize and soy farmers’ productivity.

This was made known on Thursday, June 8, 2017, in Funtua, Katsina State during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between WASIL and BIF on improving the productivity of Maize and Soy farmers in a replicable manner in Nigeria.

WASIL, a sister company to WACOT Limited is a member of the TGI Group, an international investment and holding company with diversified interests and investments in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. On the other hand, the Business Innovation Facility (BIF) is a DFID-funded market system development programme that aims to improve the lives of the poor in three countries: Malawi, Myanmar and Nigeria. BIF works to identify and address constraints in selected markets, providing technical assistance (and some grant funding) to businesses and other market players.

According to the General Manager Corporate Affairs of TGI Group, Mr. Sadiq Kassim, “WASIL is currently working with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development and the Central Bank of Nigeria under the Food Security Programme of the Federal Government to improve the productivity of maize and soy farmers. The company is setting up a large oil milling facility in Nigeria which will provide off-take of Soybeans from out-grower farmers, while CHI Farms –another member of the TGI Group– will procure maize for its feed milling activities from them
as well”.

“The first phase will see us working with 25,000 farmers in Katsina and Kaduna States, in both the maize and soy value chains in the current cropping calendar”, Kassim added. Areas of collaboration include data capturing and the building of a database of farmers and cooperatives in Maize & Soy. While WASIL/WACOT will provide its current database of cooperatives, BIF will support the Group in designing a pre-assessment survey form to assess
the farmers’ socio-economic conditions and administering the same.

BIF will also provide the required technical assistance by providing the requisite Information Technology (IT) facilities, trained field staff to conduct the registration of the new farmers, while also conducting farm mapping and revalidation of the database provided by WASIL of farmers provided by WASIL continuous supportive supervision.

Also speaking at the signing, the Managing Director of WACOT Limited. Mr. Ujwalkanta Senapati disclosed that the WASIL–BIF collaboration will “see the emergence of new farmers’ associations and cooperatives, as well as the expansion of existing ones. The partnership will also facilitate the involvement and support of relevant public agencies and state governments in the mobilization and strengthening of these groups”.

Continuing, Mr. Senapati further disclosed that the agreement includes training and capacity building for the farmers which will be preceded with the process of assessing and identifying farmer training needs on the field, providing training resources and other training and development tools among others.