Fadama III Rural Agriculture Project Fast Becoming a Household Name in Nigeria

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ABUJA, July 28, 2010— In Nigeria, the term “Fadama” is a Hausa name for irrigable land—usually low-lying plains underlaid by shallow aquifers found along major river systems. In addition to providing a source of water for livestock during dry seasons, fadamas also support large and diverse resident or transient wildlife including herbivores, carnivores and migratory birds.

The World Bank’s Fadama III project, a follow-up to the Fadama II project, which impacted the lives of rural farmers, raising their incomes by 63 percent, is showing early results in 35 Nigerian states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“We now have the support of the governors and commissioners of agriculture of most states and in the next six months, Fadama will make a tremendous incursion in the rural areas and enhance the productivity and well being of our farmers,” said Abimbola Adubi, World Bank team leader for the project.

According to Adubi, “the project is fast becoming a household name and the competitive spirit that is engendered among the states will further improve implementation significantly.”

Local communities in the driver’s seat

The objective of the project is to sustainably increase the incomes of fadama land and water resource users to reduce rural poverty, increase food security as well as contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The project takes the Community Driven Development (CDD) approach, which places beneficiaries in the driver’s seat. Local community members, under the umbrella of Fadama Community Associations (FCAs) and Fadama User Groups (FUGs), oversee the design and implementation of the project and are empowered through skills and capacity-building to improve their livelihoods by increasing income generating activities.

In just over a year, the project is showing some promising early results: More than 2,000 development plans have been created by local communities involved with the project and implementation is on track. Farm infrastructure has been enhanced in many areas through the construction of wells, storage facilities, and other measures and farmers have acquired more than 8,000 pieces of farm equipment. Veterinary clinics, feeder roads and small bridges have also been constructed and are providing links for farmers and their goods to local markets. To date, 174 km of rural roads have been improved or constructed. In 2010, the project plans to incorporate the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to improve the operations of the farmers.

Kachalla Sembe Village in Taraba State, is one area where farmers have begun to see improvements in operations, which project leaders hope will eventually lead to added sales and improved livelihoods.

“This is the only project to match words to actions,” traditional ruler of Kachalla Sembe, Alhaji Usman Bobbo Kachalla, told recent visitors to the project through a translator.

The US$450 million Fadama III project is being implemented in 35 states, and in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory. Financing is comprised of US$250 million from International Development Agency (IDA) credits and $200 million counterpart contributions from Nigeria’s federal, state and local governments and beneficiaries.

The project, approved by the World Bank’s Board of Directors in July 2008, has six main components:

* Capacity Building, local government and communication
* Small scale community-owned infrastructure
* Advisory services and input support development.
* Support to the Agricultural Development Programs (ADPs) sponsored research and on-farm demonstrations.
* Asset acquisition for individual fadama Users Groups (FUGs)/Economic Interest Groups (EIGs)
* Project management, monitoring and evaluation

Project implementation is being monitored by civil society and media. “Well done. Keep it up,” said Mustpha Gujibawo, Executive Director of KRUDON, an NGO based in Maiduguri in Borno State. Gujibawo recently visited the project as part of an evaluation mission. “This mission has opened my eyes to the way the Bank works.”

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