From the PIND Foundation
As part of PIND’s commitment to promoting a deeper understanding and awareness of the Niger Delta through research development, PIND conducted an economic opportunities analysis to highlight major sectors of potential pro-poor economic growth and three value chain studies to diagnose the underlying constraints to achieving that growth. The findings from these analyses serve as the baseline research that will inform much of PIND’s Economic Development program, which seeks to promote economic growth by improving market access for the region’s most disadvantaged people.
Throughout the research process, PIND collaborated closely with key partners to apply the Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) development approach. M4P examines and addresses the underlying causes of weak market performance and the exclusion of the poor in order to create better functioning, more equitable market systems to ultimately produce broad-based economic growth.
When first developing the economic opportunities report, PIND commissioned the New Nigeria Foundation (NNF) to conduct the research to better understand the Niger Delta’s overall economy, its key sectors, marginal groups, and the position of the poor within those sectors. The resulting report identified three agricultural commodities – Aquaculture, Palm Oil, and Cassava – as having the highest growth potential and opportunity to impact the poor in the Niger Delta region.
PIND then performed robust value chain analyses for each of these three sectors to map out their specific market systems, identify the growth segments in the sectors, how they function, constraints that inhibit growth, the position of the poor and marginalized in these systems, and how the market system currently fails to serve their needs. The analyses identified the systemic constraints for each commodity and the interventions to advance sustainable economic growth in the region.
Aquaculture Value Chain
The first value chain study focused on Aquaculture in the Niger Delta – one of the most important growth sectors in the region. The study highlighted the very large growing and unmet demand for fish in the country and the clear opportunities for aquaculture to respond to that demand. Constraints affecting the aquaculture value chain were identified as being the high cost of imported feed, the supply and quality of parent/brood stock and fingerlings, and poor infrastructural facilities within hatcheries and grow-out farms. Market driven pilot programs are currently being developed to target these constraints and increase supply of fish in the region.
Cassava Value Chain
PIND’s second value chain analysis focused on Nigeria’s cassava sector. Nigeria is the largest cassava producer in the world, averaging an annual production of about 35 million mt over the last 5 years, yet it is a major importer of processed cassava products, especially starch. About one-third of the total national output comes from the Niger Delta region where many livelihoods depend on cassava as a main source of food and income. PIND’s value chain study concluded that the main growth markets are for high quality cassava flour and the industrially processed starch and sucrose (not the traditional food markets). While many of the challenges facing the cassava value chain are common to all agricultural products (weak extension services, poor access to credit, poor availability of input supplies, fragmented marketing, etc), critical constraints for cassava processors to meet the demand from the growth markets are linked to the reliability and timeliness of supply and coordination with the processors. Moving forward, PIND will continue developing market based approaches to addressing these challenges, initially focusing its efforts on resolving the challenges facing small, commercially oriented farmers to supply processors with sufficient volumes of the right quality tubers.
Palm Oil Value Chain
PIND’s third value chain analysis examined the Palm Oil sector. Nigeria was the world’s leading producer and exporter in the 1960s, however, since then the country has fallen to being a net importer to meet growing domestic demand, especially for higher quality oils and fractions. The value chain study concluded that growing the size of the overall value chain will require a variety of interventions focused on enhancing linkages between SPO processors and private farmers and improving processing efficiency, in particular at the smaller, commercial level. These will require an increasing investment in re-planting and upgrading existing palm plantations with newer, higher oil content varieties, and improved coordination between farmers and processors.