Ignitia-2SCALE Partnership Empowers Over a Thousand Smallholder Farmers In Northern Nigeria
Somewhere in Northern Nigeria, a smallholder farmer cannot stop smiling as he peers into his phone. He has just received a 48-hour weather forecast via SMS from the partnership between Ignitia and 2SCALE to empower smallholder farmers in Northern Nigeria to make better decisions on timing farming processes like sowing, spraying, fertilizer application, etc, for improved productivity and profitability. The message has given him a peek into the future and he is glad he can confidently commit his scarce resources where there will be the greatest returns. Although the popular English saying for such scenarios of avoiding unpleasant events is “saved by the bell”, for this smallholder farmer, the saying is “saved by the text” literally!
In 2019, Ignitia, a tropical weather forecasting company, and 2SCALE, an incubator for inclusive agribusiness in Africa, launched an innovative partnership in Ghana and Nigeria 2019 to enable more farmers to use innovative agtech tools like ignitia's weather forecasts to improve their productivity, mitigate risks/losses, and increase profitability. Together with private sector partners, such as food processors and aggregators, Ignitia and 2SCALE aim to empower farmers with forecasts that improve productivity and reduce weather-related risks by helping farmers to identify the optimal conditions for planting, weeding, harvesting, or drying staple crops, as well as provide digital advisory services to the farmers.
This project ran from August through November 2019 in the Northern Nigeria states of Kano, Kaduna, Katsina and Sokoto. It saw over a thousand farmers receive ignitia’s daily weather forecasts by SMS for the duration of the project and the results recorded from this project showed the weather forecasts were received positively by the farmers, with 88% of farmers reporting that they used the weather forecasts to improve their farming practices. The farmers surveyed experienced improved yields in rainy season crops during the project period, as compared to the previous farming season, with 72% of sorghum farmers, 53% of rice farmers, and 61% of maize farmers reporting yield increases. 90% of the farmers surveyed reported that they were satisfied or very satisfied with the weather forecasts while 80% indicated an interest in paying for the forecasts at the conclusion of the trial period.
Alhassan Issahaku, the Climate-Smart Agriculture Specialist of 2SCALE said:
“Drought is a serious problem in many areas of Africa - including where our partnerships are based, such as Ghana, Nigeria - and even Mali. With Ignitia's weather forecasting service, farmers in our first pilot were better informed and able to make important decisions regarding their agricultural practices.
This key information enabled them to apply the right input, at the right time, and in turn they produced larger quantities of higher quality food while also preserving natural resources and biodiversity.
With Ignitia, the farmers involved in the pilot have become more resilient. They are better positioned to respond to changing weather patterns, and less impacted by challenges such as rainwater shortages. Based on these outcomes, 2SCALE will look for further opportunities to utilize their service in other partnerships, beyond this initial pilot”.
With such massive results recorded in the trial period, Ignitia and 2SCALE remain committed to empowering farmers beyond Nigeria to sustainably duplicate and multiply the positive results seen in Northern Nigeria. To that effect, Ignitia and 2SCALE are running similar partnership programs in Ghana and Mali to empower even more smallholder farmers with reliable, daily weather forecasts sent by SMS to improve their farming practices, yield, and ultimately, livelihoods. Visit www.ignitia.se to learn more about ignitia's services and how to partner with ignitia to empower more farmers in Africa.