How UK’s Aid Funded Programme Helped Rural Community Farmers


Emma Okonji and Ugo Aliogo
At the closing event of the UK’s aid funded programme, Propcom Mai-karfi, which held in Abuja recently, the programme staff explained how the UK Government’s investment in agriculture has expanded market access and catalysed private sector investments to create economic opportunities for smallholder farmers in Northern Nigeria.

In attendance was the Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos, representatives of the UK Government and other donor agencies, commissioners of agriculture in implementing states, development sector partners, private sector stakeholders and civil society organisations.

The event provided a platform for Propcom Mai-karfi to tell its story of impact and to advance discussions on sustaining successes recorded over the years. Strategies for promoting inclusive business models for the private sector, prospects for transformation of the public sector, and opportunities for donors and development partners to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of development support into the region were shared.

UK’s Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos, Ben Llewellyn-Jones, said: “We are very pleased to be able to celebrate today with all our partners the impact Propcom Mai-Karfi has made in Northern Nigeria over the last nine years. Its success has only been possible due to the drive, motivation, and willingness of our partners to adopt the market-driven approaches that ultimately create greater economic opportunities for poor men and women. The UK remains committed to supporting inclusive and climate resilient growth in Nigeria, and we look forward to continuing these partnerships.”

Commissioner of Agriculture, Kaduna State, Hajiya Halima Lawal said: “I want to applaud the UK Government and to offer my congratulations to the entire Propcom Mai-karfi team for the considerable achievements in developing agriculture over the years, especially in promoting pro-poor opportunities and inclusive market growth in Northern Nigeria, and thereby improving the livelihood of citizens in our State and the region. As a State, we remain committed to facilitating and attracting investments and look forward with keen anticipation to future collaborations with the UK government.”

National Team Leader, Propcom Mai-karfi, Kevin Gager, said: “Defining various paths to economic recovery and growth demands that existing knowledge and experiences be accounted for in the process. Propcom’s closing event offered up our wealth of experience for everyone to share in the future development efforts in Northern Nigeria.”

Propcom Mai-karfi deployed the ‘Making Markets Work for the Poor – M4P’ approach, which focuses on tackling the constraints that affect the markets that poor people participate in so that they can derive higher benefits and values from better functioning market systems.

The Programme targeted market systems with opportunities for poor farmers. It identified factors causing them to perform poorly and facilitated relevant players in the markets to address those underlying constraints. In so doing, Propcom helped to build the capacity of smallholders in climate smart agriculture and helped to provide the knowledge for them to improve their productivity and overall production.

Deputy Team Leader, Propcom Mai-karfi, Ogheneovo Ugbebor said: “At the heart of Propcom Mai-karfi, is sustainability. The Programme assumed only a facilitatory role, never direct delivery, thereby allowing key actors to drive the process from the outset. Importantly, Propcom’s intervention designs and strategies were built on the motivation and incentives of key players to act now and in the future, creating the needed drive for continuity. In its facilitative capacity, Propcom sustainably expanded market access to agricultural inputs and services, trade linkages and fostered business and regulatory reforms leveraging billions of Naira in investments from the public and private sectors.”