The USAID-funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub (Trade Hub) has launched a coinvestment partnership with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), through its Business Incubation Platform (IITA BIP), to boost the soybean value chain in Nigeria.
The IITA BIP provides expertise and training in commercial agriculture and farm management, as well as opportunities for market expansion. According to IITA BIP, the demand for soybean in the country far exceeds the supply, with average yields below current rates in other parts of Africa and the world.
To help counter this, IITA BIP will leverage a $300,000 co-investment grant from the Trade Hub to accelerate the production of a new variety of highyielding soybean seed for uptake by commercial seed companies in Nigeria. This grant will be complemented by IITA BIP’s co-investment cash contribution of $529,222.
Through this effort, approximately 600 farmers in Benue state, Nigeria—50% of whom will be women—will be supported to produce 751 metric tons of the new soybean breeder seeds, as well as 1,400 metric tons of soybean foundation seeds by the end of 2022. The farmers will also be introduced to yield-enhancing technologies and practices.
“Amid growing concerns over food security and sustainability, the Trade Hub is looking to support solutions that make West Africa’s value chains more efficient and robust,” says Michael Clements, the Trade Hub’s Chief of Party.
“The new, high-yield soybean variety IITA BIP is developing has the potential to catalyze momentum for soybean production and to offer growers a more profitable farming enterprise.”
IITA BIP estimates that the seeds produced through the out growers could generate up to $4 million after being sold to seed companies. The multiplied, certified seeds could generate an additional several million dollars in total income in the first year of the venture. “The co-investment from the Trade Hub gives us the opportunity to execute our plan at a scale, which will create a greater impact,” says Frederick Schreurs, CEO of IITA BIP.
The Trade Hub’s grant with IITA BIP represents its first research and development project, an area of increasing importance as it seeks to partner with companies innovating in the agricultural sector. Funding comes in part though Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s initiative to combat global hunger.