Impacting Agricultural Development in Nigeria: The WOFAN Story

WOFAN group image

To be successful, you must not make money your priority. Instead, be passionate about working with farmers. If you have that passion and work hard, you will be successful. Money will come naturally.” – Hajia Salamatu Garba, Executive Director, WOFAN.

This story is about supporting women and young people in rural Nigeria with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in agriculture. It’s dubbed “the WOFAN story,” and it began in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown threatened to bring the activities of smallholder farmers and processors to a standstill.

Responding to their need for support, the Mastercard Foundation partnered with the Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN) to implement the Integrated Community-led Network of Hope program (ICON). Its goal is to facilitate access to resources and technology that can help build the enterprises of the program participants.

The success of this first phase of the WOFAN story was far-reaching, with over 82,000 young Nigerians securing work opportunities from farmers participating in the program. It led to the next chapter, which took place in 2022 with the renewal of the initiative as the WOFAN ICON-2 Project. The five-year intervention, funded by the Mastercard Foundation, was created to enhance the quality of life and economic empowerment of 675,000 young, small-scale farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs and their families across nine states in Nigeria.

Most recently, in November 2023, the WOFAN ICON-2 Project onboarded 500 new agricultural extension workers. Stakeholders from across the agricultural value chain attended the onboarding event, marking the implementation of the project’s second year and a new phase of the WOFAN story.

The introduction of extension workers will increase the project’s outreach. They are trained to discuss matters with smallholder farmers and processors, especially women and young people, and help them gain clearer insight into their processes and find solutions to problems. The aim is to increase the efficiencies of farms and processing operations, increase production, and raise the standard of living of project participants.

The extension workers have Android tablets preloaded with software to collect implementation data, which enables them to offer technical advice based on research to aid crop production and processing. The data also contributes to knowledge management by WOFAN and its partners during and after the implementation, giving extension workers information to share with farmers and processors about prices and markets or the availability of credit and inputs.

The Chairman of WOFAN’s Technical Advisory Board, Professor Sani Miko, spoke at the onboarding event, saying that the role of extension workers is critical to reaching Nigeria’s food security targets. Hajia Salamatu Garba, WOFAN’s Executive Director, said that the extension workers receive training in production, processing, and enterprise development for smallholder farmers and processors, supporting young people and women in adopting best practices for improved outputs and mobilizing them to form cooperative groups.

Encouraging the cohort of extension workers to fulfill their role in the WOFAN story, Hajia Salamatu Garba said: “To be successful, you must not make money your priority. Instead, be passionate about working with farmers. If you have that passion and work hard, you will be successful. Money will come naturally.”

The WOFAN story continues to be lived. It has the potential to transform the agricultural sector in Nigeria significantly.


Learn more about our work in Nigeria.


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