Nigerian farmers’ Resilience to COVID-19’ was an insightful forum that featured global development experts – William Grant of DAI Global, Dr. Dara Akala and Precious Agbunno of PIND Foundation and David Elliot of the Gallus Edge.
The virtual session buttressed the need for Market Systems Development and provided a wide range of approaches to absorb economic, social, and environmental & health shocks as well as the characteristics of deeper & more resilient market systems.
Speaking about ‘How PIND and MADE strengthened market systems in the Niger Delta’ since 2015, PIND Executive Director, Dr. Dara Akala, began by highlighting PIND Foundation and MADE’s overall objectives within the region and their work with Local Private Extension Services Providers (LPES) through series of training & mentorship to provide improved value to farmers they serve.
Providing contextual background, Dr. Akala indicated the level of growth achieved by the number of farmers reached overtime with quality support services and how the number of Local Private Extension Services Providers (LPES) in the Niger Delta was about 300 in 2015 at the start of the PIND-MADE intervention but has since grown to over 3000 LPES today. Thus, strengthening the support market systems within the region.
Continuing the conversation, PIND Foundation’s Market Development Manager, Precious Agbunno presented on the ‘The impact of the COVID pandemic on agri-service providers and how they have adapted to keep services going for farmers’. Where he talked about how Local Private Extension Services Providers (LPES) in the Niger Delta applied the skills gained through their capacity building interactions with PIND and approached challenges induced by the pandemic innovatively and entrepreneurially; converting farmers’ challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown into business opportunities while addressing the challenges of these farmers.
It was quite an insightful and interactive discussion as members of the audience had the opportunity to ask questions and get responses from the panelists.