Community Empowerment Agricultural Initiative
Federal Capital Territory Millennium Development Goals

The Problem

Before the initiative, 70% of the residence of the FCT lives in rural areas and this population is largely agrarian practicing subsistence farming with little or no access to information and modern agricultural inputs. The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCT) benefited a conditional grant from the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) debt relief gain to undertake poverty reduction programs and projects in line the goals of the MDGs in the year 2008.
In order to implement the poverty reduction programs and projects, a baseline survey was conducted among 858 communities of FCT in 2008, in which poverty and related indicators for each community within the FCT were captured as a benchmark for intervention. Agriculture and related activities were identified as having the greatest potentials of providing means of sustainable livelihood in the rural communities and thus the choice empowerment project in agriculture.
Specifically, the survey reveals the following;
 2% of residents’ of these Communities earn over 50,000 Naira annually.
 50% of families in the 858 communities earn between N20, 000 – N50, 000 Naira annually.
 Another 39% earn from N10, 000 – N20, 000.
• Only 2% of the communities/farmers have access to tractor, plough bulls compared to 89% that depend on hoes and cutlasses for their farming
• Only 4% of the communities have access to Agricultural-extension services, the remaining 93% are without.
• Over 67% of communities have no access to fertilizer
Based on these appalling statistics the FCT MDGs came up with Community Empowerment Agricultural initiative to address some of these problems in the poor communities. This is specifically targeting MDGs 1, 2 & 3. The services rendered in this program includes technical support in terms of extension services to farmers, inputs supply which includes and not restricted to tractors, fertilizers, seeds, pesticides and market support through bulk purchase of agricultural produce from farmers by government.
Community Empowerment Agricultural Initiative (CEAI) is designed to empower women and youth through agricultural activities in order to address the issues of poverty in the rural areas. The initiative seek to increase access to information, agricultural inputs, equipment and extension services to enable the women and youth to move away from the traditional farming practice to modern farming techniques for increase food production, wealth creation and agribusiness development the rural communities.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
The initiative is about empowering women and youth in these rural communities to reduce their poverty level and improve their means of livelihood. This is done through increasing access to agricultural inputs, equipment, finance and capacity building, which in turn creates job and wealth.
The initiative is designed for three active years of participation for interested communities. During these active years, Government and other sponsors graduate the level of support in a descending manner from100% to 70% and 30% in the first, second and third year of the initiative, that allows for sustainability by the benefitting communities. The support is provided includes improved seeds, fertilizer, chemicals and tractors while the communities form a cooperative group, make available at least (10) hectares of cleared farm land, plant and manage the farm up to post harvest level under the supervision of an extension worker posted to the community.
The harvested crops are sold and the proceeds left to the cooperative groups to invest it in the next farming season.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
The solution was proposed by a team of experts in their various fields of social and Agricultural sciences. The team that proposed the solution is lead by:
1. Mr. Ari, Isa Muhammad Director, Economic Planning Research and Statistics (then the Coordinator FCT MDGs).
2. Mr. Abubakar Sani Pai. The FCT MDGs Focal Person
3. Ms. Nancy S. Nathan. The Task Manager, Youth Empowerment Programme
4. Dr. Shuaibu U. Adamu. The Manager Community Agricultural Initiative
5. Heads of Department of Agriculture in the six (6) Area Councils.
6. FCT Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat.
7. Traditional Rulers, Women leaders and Youth groups.
8. All staff of the Youth Empowerment team.
9. With the able support of the Honourable Minister FCT and the Honourable Minister of State, FCT.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
The strategy used in implementing this initiative is the provision of free technical support in terms of extension services, agricultural inputs and equipment. The participatory approach in the service delivery is another strategy in implementing the scheme.
The objective of the initiative is to reduce poverty and improve capacity of the communities to increase production and transform the rural economy into a base for raw materials.
The initiative uses participatory method as a strategy that allow beneficiaries to participate in designing the programme.
The farms are established by the cooperative members in collaboration with the empowerment team (Government).
To establish the farm, the sponsor (Government) will start with an advocacy and sensitization visit to the traditional rulers, opinion leaders, and women leaders and youth groups. After the advocacy and sensitization, trainings are organized for the cooperative member on best agronomic practices. The identified 10 hectares farmland will be plough by a tractor and the planting is done by the cooperative group members.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
The development and implementation steps started with the Baseline survey in 2008 conducted by the FCT MDGs. The survey findings led the team to brainstorming session and development of strategy to address the to address the problem. The Community Empowerment Agricultural Initiative was conceptualized, communicated, adapted and implemented.
The implementation process includes:
• Posting of the extension workers to the community to supervise the implementation.
• Deployment of tractors to community to plough the farmland.
• Distribution of planting material inputs such as seeds, chemicals, fertilizers, sprayers etc. Planting and management of the farm, level processing of the crops.
• Market Linkage.
• Linked cooperative members to Micro Finance banks for micro Credit to go into other ventures like livestock farming.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
The main obstacle encountered in the programme include:
Skeptism: Doubting the sincerity of the Government to implement the program. Not wanting to adhere to the new improved Agricultural practice. They would prefer to stick to the traditional practice. Poor cooperation among cooperative members, Difficult terrain especially during the rainy season that makes supervisioning of the project difficult, Diversion of inputs for personal use, Non -challant attitude of some extension workers.Weather problem particularly rainfall pattern,Some of the microfinance banks were not prepared to work with the people in the rural areas.
These obstacles were overcome through enlightenment and capacity building on group cohesion; deliver the services such as the deployment of tractors, distribution of inputs and items at the right time, punishing of erring of extension workers to serve as deterrent to others, delisting of microfinance that are not ready to work in the communities, the use of rugged vehicles for supervision.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
a. The resource use for this initiative are contributions from:
The Federal Government of Nigeria through the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the president on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) under the Conditional Grant Scheme (CGS) and
The Federal Capital Territory Administration counterpart funds.
Support from UNDAF II, FCT Desk
b. The financial technical and human recourses cost associated with this programme is as follows:
i. Technical support cost = N189, 042, 515.00 (approx. $1,219,629.1)
ii. Human resource cost = N 42, 840, 000. 00 (approx. $276,387.1)
The initiative has 77 extension workers to supervise the farms
- 34 tractor operators and mates to operate the tractors.
- 3 tractor mechanics to rectify problem as soon as the occurred.
- 2 security personnel.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
Yes the initiative is sustainable and transferable.
The initiative is still being funded by the Federal Government of Nigeria through the office of the senior special assistant to the president on MDGs and the FCT Counterpart Support.
The communities themselves are creating wealth through their economic activities that generate money to sustain their activity as enriched in the programme strategy.
Socially the initiative has reduced the drudgery associated with Agriculture thereby making Agriculture more attractive.
Economically, the farmers are releasing more income with less labour and now the improvement in the living standard more of the farmers children attend school without dropping out. They now also can procure health services with ease.
The office of the Special Assistant to the president on MDGs is encouraging all the states in the federation to replace the initiatives in their states. An NGO has come to understand the initiative with a view of replicating it in its locality.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
The initiative has open up over 2,230 hectares of farmland in 234 communities across the six Area Councils of the Federal Capital Territory, trained over 18,000 cooperative members in arable and livestock farming, Organize farmers into cooperative groups, Linked them up with Microfinance banks, Produce and sold over 600 tons of assorted grains, Build the capacity of over 500 farmers in entrepreneurship skills, The initiative is collaborating with the international Institute for Tropical Agriculture Ibadan to popularize yam minisett technology, The initiative has provided a platform to Pilot a Community Based Health Insurance Scheme (CBHIS) in 60 communities out of the 234 that the initiative is working with, The initiative has enhanced the economic status of the farmers that they can pay for their health Insurance premium under the CBHIS scheme.
The initiative also provided a platform for a sister Agency, Abuja Enterprise Agency (AEA) to launch community entrepreneurial development outreach in some of the communities.
The initiative is enjoying support from the United Nation Development Assisted Frame Work (UNDAF) II, FCT Desk
The lesson learnt on this program is the strong political will demonstrate by the leaders to allow a team conceptualize, develop and implement the program. The zeal of the team members to drive the process all the way through despite the challenges was very encouraging. Another leson learnt is the willingness of the community to own their project as exhibited by cooperative members team spirit.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Federal Capital Territory Millennium Development Goals
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Nancy Sabanti Nathan
Title:   Ms  
Telephone/ Fax:   +234 805 7270868
Institution's / Project's Website:
Address:   Federal Capital Territory Millennium Development Goals
Postal Code:   90003
City:   Abuja
State/Province:   Federal Capital Territory
Country:   Nigeria

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