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The Challenge
In 2018 when the Nigerian government placed a ban on dozens of items including the staple food, rice, a door of market opportunity opened for members of the Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN) to increase rice production and value addition for increased revenue and members’ standard of living. However, they lacked capacity in terms of modern processing equipment and machinery, requisite training, capital, and certification.

The Action
In 2018, the United States African Development Foundation (USADF) awarded the cooperative an Enterprise Expansion Grant (OAG) of US$250K for establishing rice milling and value addition centres with rice processing equipment and machinery, Good Agricultural Practices training, improved farming techniques, and linkages to new markets and follow-on financing.

The Role of DDI
As the implementing partner of USADF, Diamond Development Initiatives provided additional local technical and programmatic support via Pre-grant award due diligence, remediation, monitoring and evaluation of project success in line with project goals. Additionally, DDI also provided hand-holding as regards financial record-keeping training, budget formulation and management, disbursement tracking and grant closeouts.

With this investment and after 4 years, the group increased cultivation capacity from 60 hectares to 220 hectares, producing over 660 MT of rice paddy (from 80 MT in 2019) and over 200 MT of high-quality milled table rice – resulting in annual revenue of over N60m. The group has also diversified its activities via rice value addition which has resulted in scalable production of rice and groundnut flour for pastries and snacks.

Additionally, a replication of the USADF-WOFAN template is currently being supported and scaled up by: 1) the Nigerian Government and UNDP for 42K farmers in 7 Northern Nigerian states; and 2) MasterCard Foundation for many farmers across Nigeria. The group has been recognized with several local and international awards, including the VALUE4HER Women Agripreneurs of the Year Awards (WAYA 2021) in Kenya and “Most Impactful NGO” by the Kano State Government.

Quote from founder: “The USADF funding has been our launchpad, and like a building, the foundation laid by USADF support is what we are building on today, as a group.” – Hajiya Salamatu Garba, Founder/Executive Director, WOFAN.

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