Policy Brief: Food Security in Nigeria

Market systems approaches, or Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P), are relatively new trends in food security. In Nigeria, a common market systems approach to food security is the creation or strengthening of value chains to provide more substantial nutrition for livestock. Development firms have chosen to create market linkages between farmers and the private sector to provide a more nutrient dense feed for livestock. In the initial stages of the programs, the development agencies will subsidize the purchase of these feeds and monitor the impact on the health of the livestock. With these potent nutritional supplements, livestock can grow stronger and meatier. Their meat is more filling and nutritious, and can be sold at a higher rate at market.

Empirical evidence suggests that farmers who were initially purchasing subsidized livestock feed have been able to eventually purchase at market value once their business increased. This is very beneficial for the private sector feed producers as they are seeing an increase in demand for their product while creating a self-sustaining market that is beneficial for the rural communities and the private sector alike.

There are of course challenges, especially in the short term, to persuading farmers to trust foreign assistance and to invest in equipment that they do not yet know how to use, so the formation of farmer groups has been encouraged to provide social support and collateral. The groups obtain loans, disburse the loans to members and ensure that members pay back these loans on time. Furthermore the groups, which run on their own, are a means of efficiently disseminating farmers with provisions, training, and new ideas and technology, as they are a central point of reference. Capacity building in terms of sustainable utilization of the provisions, treatment of farm products, and the storing of outputs are carried out using the medium of the groups.

The UN bodies working on market systems approach are primarily the UNDP, with some joint collaboration with FAO. The African Facility for Inclusive Markets, and the Growing Inclusive Markets Initiative have both been developed as regional market systems initiatives under the auspices of UNDP. Both initiatives focus on the promotion of Inclusive Market Development in Africa through development and expansion of regional value chains in job creating sectors that include agribusiness. Their inclusive market development strategy seeks to provide the poor with the tools and resources to lift themselves out of poverty through economic growth and development initiatives driven at the regional or country level. They achieve this by the inclusion of multi-stakeholder inputs, which particularly relies on cultivating private sector interest in pro-poor agriculture initiatives. By doing so, GIM contributes to human development and the Millennium Development Goals.