Statistics released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) pegged Nigeria’s unemployment rate at a staggering 33.3% in Q4 2020. This is a 6.2% increase on the level recorded in Q3 2020. PricewaterhouseCoopers’s report entitled “Nigeria Economic Alert” published in September 2020 attributes this increase to a few notable factors; including low levels of industrialisation, slow economic growth, low employability, and substandard quality of the labour force.
Since Babban Gona’s inception 10 years ago, unemployment rates have risen from 3.74% to 33.3%. This has led to insurgencies; such as Boko Haram, the Niger Delta Crisis, and the Kaduna Crisis; fueled by disgruntled youth. We recognize that as oxygen is to fire, so are unemployed youth to insurgencies. It is our mission to douse the flames by using agriculture as a job creation engine to provide a “Better Life” for youths and smallholder farmers.
Many wonder “Why agriculture?” The answer is simple: Nigeria is blessed with an abundance of resources that make it favourable for agriculture. The country has 85 million hectares of arable land, three of the eight major river systems in Africa, a largely untouched water table, and, most importantly, a large domestic market in terms of consumption and labour. Yet, despite contributing over 24% to GDP, the Nigerian agricultural sector is dominated by smallholders living below the poverty line. The sector is underdeveloped and unattractive to the youths.
We developed our Agricultural Franchise Model to make farming more profitable by enabling smallholders transition from a subsistence to commercial farming mindset. Our model has consistently supported smallholders to increase their productivity and profitability to 2x the national average, whilst maintaining a repayment rate of 98% on their loan packages.
In 2021 we created over 236,000 jobs for our beneficiaries in 2021, with 68% for youth and 50% for women. Jobs that were critical in ensuring food security in the nation and enhancing the livelihoods of our members, their families, and communities during a critical time.
Through Babban Gona’s primary gender focused initiative, the Women Economic Development Initiative (WEDI), we leverage our network of members from other Babban Gona programs to encourage their female relatives to participate, spread the word on female empowerment and advocate for financial independence.
In 2021, Babban Gona registered and trained approximately 104,000 women on business and financial literacy, with the overall goal of providing rural women with skills needed to sustainably run and manage their own businesses.
We are fortunate to have the support of our numerous partners along this journey, and we invite you also to join the Better Life movement!