Babban Gona Farmer Services
- Sector: Agriculture
- Country of operations: Nigeria
Ploughshares not swords
Babban Gona, which means ‘Great Farm’ in the Hausa language widely spoken in Northern Nigeria, was set up to create jobs and a viable future for young Nigerians in the agriculture sector, and thereby discourage them from joining extremist groups. The business operates a franchise model in Northern Nigeria, providing thousands of farmer cooperatives with a full range of services, including finance, training, agricultural inputs and support for harvesting, storage and marketing. The aim is to help farmers optimise their crop yields, keep production costs down and in the process increase profitability and improve household food security and livelihoods.
Babban Gona focuses on rice and maize and the poultry that uses maize as feed. Kola Masha, Managing Director, says that over the past year there has been an increase in demand for such food products as a result of the growing population and an emerging middle class. “Demand for Babban Gona’s products is expected to rise,” says Kola. “We see a willingness for customers to use our products.”
The business has grown quickly in recent years and its members have, to date, produced and marketed some 30,000 tonnes of produce. The next stage of growth is now being planned, with the business setting its sights on expanding into new territories in the coming years. “Within the next five years, we will look to expand the model across both West and East Africa,” says Kola. “Babban Gona is targeting having one million farmers across Africa by 2025.”
The demand will be there, given the continent’s growing population, but there will be challenges too. More extreme weather conditions, increased desertification and insecurity are all issues that will have to be faced, but the opportunities are equally apparent. “The industry has high growth prospects, particularly if technology and processes can be developed to surmount these challenges,” says Kola.