The International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), a research centre for the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), has partnered with Alluvial Agriculture - a collective farming business grouping thousands of smallholders in Nigeria. Together, CIAT and Alluvial plan to establish a replicable model for scaling up adoption of agricultural technologies and innovations to improve livelihoods across the food value chain, fostering environmental sustainability of agricultural development.
The signing of the partnership - signed by CIAT regional director for Africa, Dr. Debisi Araba, and Alluvial managing director, Dimieari Von Kemedi - took place on the opening day of the Feed Nigeria Summit on Monday, 30 July 2018 in Abuja, which is an annual gathering focused on Nigeria's frontline role in addressing global food security.
Alluvial is tackling systemic problems that leave most African smallholders in poverty and threaten food security across the developing world by aggregating farmers to create a nucleus of minimum efficient scale and the necessary education, mechanisation, inputs and market access.
"Alluvial's direct engagement with various value chain actors, including farmers, provides CIAT with a conduit to rapidly disseminate agriculture innovations acquired and developed through our partnerships and activities around the world,” said Araba. "CIAT provides Alluvial with the know-how, monitoring and evaluation framework to ensure that the investment in Nigeria is globally competitive and environmentally sustainable, and ensures that the investment is able to evolve and respond to market signals."
"This partnership is poised to support and benefit all value chain actors, including those working in the production, distribution and consumption hubs of the food system," added Araba.
CIAT’s initial five-year plan with Alluvial will focus on climate change adaptation, soil fertility and mapping, yield optimisation and have markets work for the poor, among other areas being explored by the two organisations. Their findings will be reported at least twice a year.
Improving agri community lives
"CIAT’s work through Alluvial will make a difference to the lives of whole communities, as well as providing scientific and social lessons applicable to CIAT’s extensive network across the tropical world," said Kemedi.
While poverty has reportedly been falling across the developing world, food shortages have been rising, as evidenced by increased malnutrition rates since 2014.
Higher population growth puts Africa at particular risk of a food and humanitarian crisis with global dimensions in terms of unprecedented migration. Nigeria is at the epicentre – currently the world’s seventh largest country – and, according to a 2017 report by the UN’s Department of Economic & Social Affairs, will overtake the US as the third most populous by 2050.
"CIAT presents a fantastic opportunity for Alluvial as we benefit directly from many decades of research and experience that CIAT will bring to our community block model to improve yield and make markets work for the poor," said Kemedi. "We will celebrate success only when our work helps farmers to earn higher incomes and contributes to food security."