In Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, smallholder farming is a perilous occupation. Although agriculture represents a quarter of the economy, the sector is unready to meet the food needs of a population expected to double over the next generation. Meanwhile, the burgeoning youth population faces 50 percent unemployment against a backdrop of three insurgencies in the past twenty years.
To help prevent the spread of insecurity in Nigeria, a revitalized agricultural sector that offers its youth attractive prospects for a viable income is urgently needed. Babban Gona is an investor-owned social enterprise serving small networks of smallholder farmers with a model created specifically to attract youth. The members receive development and training, credit, agricultural inputs, marketing support, and other key services. Besides increasing each farmer’s yield and income to 2.3 times the national average, the Babban Gona franchise works to demonstrate that the smallholder segment is a viable model for investment and to attract massive new capital to the sector.