The International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) has announced a partnership with the Alluvial Agriculture, a collective farming business grouping thousands of smallholders in Nigeria.
CIAT, a research centre for the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) – a global research partnership for a food-secure future supported by private foundations, national governments and multilateral development agencies – would sign its agreement with Alluvial on the opening day of the Feed Nigeria Summit, the biggest annual gathering focused on this nation’s frontline role in addressing global food security.
The agreement was signed in Abuja on Monday.
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,” CIAT Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Debisi Araba said.
“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.”
According to a statement, CIAT and Alluvial, jointly plan to establish a replicable model for scaling up adoption of agricultural technologies and innovations to improve livelihoods across the food value chain and foster environmental sustainability of agricultural development.
“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,” Araba added.
CIAT’s initial five-year plan with Alluvial would focus on climate change adaptation, soil fertility and mapping, yield optimisation and making markets work for the poor, among other areas being explored by the two organisations.
Their findings would be reported at least twice a year.
“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,” Alluvial Managing Director, Dimieari Von Kemedi said.
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, Nigeria will overtake the US as the third most populous by 2050, according to a 2017 report by the UN’s Department of Economic & Social Affairs.
It’s the Niger Delta that’s the initial focal point for Alluvial, which literally means the product of alluvium, or deposits of clay, silt and sand left by floodwater in a river valley or delta that typically produces fertile soil.
Notorious for oil-related tensions, the Niger Delta is less known for its rich soil, supporting abundant agriculture, horticulture and aquaculture.
“CIAT presents an 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.”