Industry Insights

Nigeria and France Sign a €1.2 Million Agricultural Improvement Agreement

A grant agreement for €1.2 million has been agreed between France and Nigeria to establish an agribusiness and food market strategy in Nigeria.

On Thursday, the Federal Minister of Finance (FMoF), the Federal Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), the French Ambassador to Nigeria, the Country Director of the French Development Agency (AFD), and the Director of International Relations of the French company Semmaris signed the agreement on behalf of the Nigerian government.

The AFD award will support a one-year technical assistance program to help the FMARD build a national agrifood market development strategy, according to a statement from the French Embassy in Nigeria. This one-year study, which will take place between Q1 2023 and Q1 2024, will focus on the three main urban consuming centers in Nigeria: Lagos-Ibadan, Kano-Kaduna, and Owerri-Port-Harcourt. It will examine the entire value chains market ecology from rural to urban areas.

The study will produce an inventory of current agricultural markets, a detailed analysis of current distribution channels and agrifood logistics, a legal and regulatory framework tailored to market development, and technical recommendations to renovate or construct three terminal markets, according to the statement.

The Federal Project Management Unit (FPMU) of the Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP) within the FMARD will assist the French company Semmaris in implementing the program. In Rungis, France, Semmaris has been in charge of running the biggest wholesale fresh food market in the entire world for more than 50 years.

The Rungis Market, according to the announcement, unites more than 1,200 businesses from diverse food value chain segments. With the completion of the “Rural Access and Mobility Project” (RAMP) in 2021 and the ongoing “Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project” (RAAMP) (2020–2028), co-financed by AFD and the World Bank for a total investment of €700 million, including $296 million from AFD, this initiative will build on the 10-year intervention of the World Bank and AFD in the rural development sector in Nigeria.

According to the statement, these initiatives would help reduce post-harvest losses by upgrading 65 collection markets across 19 States into agro-logistics centers and rehabilitating nearly 2000 km of all-season rural roads.

In Nigeria, agriculture will contribute 22% of the country’s GDP in 2020 and will employ 70% of all formally and informally employed people. Nigeria is a significant producer of cereals (maize, rice, sorghum), roots and tubers (cassava is the world’s biggest producer, while taro and yam are also produced in huge quantities), cocoa, and palm oil. Small, inefficient family farms that engage in low-mechanized subsistence rain-fed agriculture are typical of the region’s agricultural sector. 90% of the nation’s agricultural production is produced by smallholder farmers, who make up 80% of the farming population. Despite rising agricultural productivity, more agri-food goods are being imported, and 30 to 40 percent of crops are being lost due to poor access to markets and highways.

This research will help to strengthen agri-food systems and structure the food value chain. It would assist in identifying the terminal markets that need to be renovated or newly constructed on the outskirts of cities, connecting Nigeria’s main urban consuming regions to rural areas that are gaining from past and current interventions by AFD and the World Bank. By doing this, wholesale marketplaces will add to the already-existing ring of enhanced infrastructures (country roads, food markets), as well as the sound maintenance procedures established by the RAMP projects. This study will support strengthening the food supply in cities amid growing urbanization and population expansion.