Agro Geo-Cooperative is the coming together of smallholder farmers within a locality who leverage on economy of scale to ensure (in the cultivation of single commodities) higher productivity and returns for all stakeholders.
Usually, smallholder farmers operating solo offer little or no attraction for banks and other financiers. NIRSAL's Agro Geo-Cooperative model brings together hundreds of smallholder farmers into a single large strong entity that is attractive to the world of finance.
The Agro Geo-Cooperative farming model group together adjoining farmlands within a geographical area identified as being suitable for specific commodities. This is an improvement on the less desirable practice of smallholders farming on bits of small, dispersed and unconnected parcels of land.
This farmland-based cooperative approach makes it possible to deploy Precision Agriculture tools such as Remote Sensing, Unmanned Aerial Systems, and satellite-based Global Positioning Systems, which result in optimisation of production and profit, through economy of scale.
The Agro Geo-Cooperative model is anchored on the fundamental theory that it is the farmland that makes the farmer, not the other way round. Thus a basic attribute of the Agro Geo-Cooperative model is the GPS-enabled Geo-tagging of each farmer to his land. This solves the problem of identity and accountability which is a major risk element in smallholder agricultural finance around the world and particularly sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria inclusive.
Accordingly, the model groups farmers based on the contiguity of their farmlands, where each farmer retains what is originally his, but becomes a partaker in large, structured farming projects. The bigger and more contiguous a Geo-Cooperative is, the faster and easier for it access structured finance, quality inputs and markets through NIRSAL’s facilitation.
NIRSAL has set for itself a clear and measurable target of creating 16,000 Agro Geo-Cooperatives on 4 million hectares of farmland and enrolling about 8 million farmers across Nigeria expected to produce about 12 million metric tonnes of Grain Product Equivalent (GPE) annually, over the medium to the long-term projection.
To ensure the success of this massive project, NIRSAL has trained and primed its Project Monitoring, Reporting and Remediation Officers (PMROs) in the 36 States of the Federation and the FCT to assist farmers, farmer leaders, aggregators and other interested participants to meet the pre-qualification requirements.
The PMROs are on hand nationwide to guide participating farmers through the enrolment processes which include identifying their farm’s geographical coordinates and size, electing Agro Geo-Cooperative leaders as well as the free registration which can be done online or offline.