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Harvest in Wushishi: From Despair to Abundance

Sweat dripped down Kasim Yusuf’s brow as he surveyed his land.

A year ago, the scorching sun beat down on a meagre one-hectare farm, barely enough to feed his family. Despair gnawed at him.

Today, that same sun illuminates three hectares overflowing with agricultural produce, mirroring the unfolding transformation journey of countless smallholder farmers.

This is more than just Kasim’s story. It’s the story of thousands of Nigerian farmers in 26 communities spread across Wushishi, Bida, Edati, Mokwa, Lavun and Borgu Local Government Areas of Niger State.

Like their counterparts from 16 rural communities in Birnin Kudu, Ringim, Taura and Garki in Jigawa State, these farmers were formerly trapped in a cycle of limited resources, outdated techniques, and financial constraints. These challenges threatened their livelihoods and the nation’s food security.

Across these 42 communities, a new dawn is breaking, one filled with promise and potential. Thanks to Noma Service Consolidated Limited, an aggregator whose farmers are supported by First City Monument Bank with funding from a Mastercard Foundation grant.

NOMA is a pioneer in innovation and development of solutions targeting smallholder farmers for the agro-sector in Nigeria, with well over 1,400 hectares and 100,000 farmers under its management and development.

Many smallholder farmers like Kasim are being trained and empowered by NOMA. They now confidently plant drought-resistant seeds, use water-efficient irrigation techniques, and can access loans via a digital platform to invest in quality inputs.

The new reality is giving a newfound hope to countless farmers in the rural heartlands of Nigeria, where the soil promises sustenance and livelihood.

Kasim, formerly without a decent plan, now manages his farm with newfound independence. Smart technologies introduced by NOMA is empowering farmers like him to make informed decisions and safeguard crops against erratic weather and extreme temperatures.

Increased yields translate to food security for Kasim and tens of thousands across several communities. “The support I’m getting enabled me to record a bumper harvest,” beams Kasim.

“I was given quality seeds, machinery, financial support, pesticides, and other inputs. I cultivated three hectares of land instead of one and produced 80 bags of rice. This was four times what I produced before. I made more money, and the future is now brighter”.

This sentiment echoes across beneficiaries. Shahariya Aminu, Daniel Sa’ad, and Muhammed Auwal share stories of overcoming poverty and achieving joy through improved harvests and income.

For Shahariya Aminu, it has been a heartwarming experience to be part of the NOMA programme for smallholder farmers.

“When I heard about this programme and applied, an account was opened for me with FCMB. I was also given a Mastercard ATM. I got input support for my farming business. I harvested about 70 bags of rice last year. Everything has been going well. I am grateful and happy to be part of this programme. I advise farmers like me to join this programme and enjoy the benefits of farming”.

It was initially a story of pessimism for Muhammed. He said,

With a smile befitting his newfound optimism, another farmer and beneficiary of the programme, Daniel Sa’ad, said:

However, smallholder farmers’ challenges extend beyond technical know-how, finances and inputs. Climate change looms large, threatening harvests with erratic rainfall and extreme temperatures.

NOMA also combats this with real-time weather data and smart technologies, empowering farmers like Shahariya and Daniel to make informed decisions and safeguard their crops.

Sustainability is woven into the very fabric of their work. Organic farming methods, conservation agriculture, and reforestation initiatives minimize environmental impact.

Smart technologies, like clean energy-powered irrigation systems, further reduce greenhouse gas emissions, ensuring a future where productivity and responsibility go hand in hand.

Despite socio-economic and environmental challenges, it is heartwarming that Kasim, Daniel, Shahariya, Muhammad and thousands of farmers benefitting from the Mastercard Foundation grant disbursed by First City Monument Bank and the technical support from NOMA are going the extra mile to turn around their fortunes.

By promoting financial inclusion, bolstering resilience, and proactively addressing climate change, the partners are entrenching a model of agriculture that promises improved livelihoods for farming communities and a more sustainable future for Nigeria.

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