On 1 February 2019, Dr, Hiroyuki Takeshima, Senior Research Fellow with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), delivered a policy research seminar to 25 high-ranking staff of Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) at the FMARD conference room in Abuja as part of commitment towards disseminating evidence needed for sound policymaking and increasing the ability of Nigeria’s government to demand and absorb information relevant to agricultural policy.
Present at this seminar, was Dr. Aisha Ndyako-Mohammed who is the Head of the Projects Coordinating Unit (PCU) at FMARD along with Assistant Directors of the various divisions within FMARD.
In the two-hour seminar, Dr Takeshima presented the key findings of three studies carried out between 2016 and 2018 in Nigeria within the framework of the Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project, namely:
- Takeshima H & A Nasir. (2017). The role of the locations of public sector varietal development activities on agricultural productivity: Evidence from northern Nigeria. IFPRI NSSP Working Paper 42.
- Takeshima H, A Adeoti & O Popoola. (2016). The impact on farm household welfare of large irrigation dams and its distributions across hydrological basins: Insights from northern Nigeria. IFPRI NSSP Working Paper 35.
- Hatzenbuehler P, H Takeshima, H Edeh & A Lawal. 2018. Cost and policy determinants of features of tractor markets in Nigeria. IFPRI NSSP Working Paper 55.
Specifically, the research findings highlighted the following policy messages:
(1) Increasing plant-breeding locations can raise overall agricultural productivity cost-effectively, and is a good way to increase support for agricultural R&D in Nigeria;
(2) Large irrigation dams have spillover effects which extending beyond command areas and across hydrological basins, especially benefiting down-stream basins by shielding farmers from the effects of droughts;
(3) Tractor-owners in the informal sector exhibit significant efficiency and skills in tractor use, which should be studied and transferred to tractor owners in the formal sector (those receiving government tractors);
(4) Used-tractor sellers, again in the informal sector, complement new-tractor sellers in the formal sector by matching geographically scattered supply and demand for tractors.
Dr. Takeshima recommended that providing information of typical business characteristics in tractor markets, especially on informal tractor ownership and trade, can reduce learning costs for new-business entrants and facilitate the private-sector growth in tractor markets.
It is notable that following the seminar by Dr. Takeshima, the Honorable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Chief Audu Ogbeh requested a meeting with Dr. Takeshima to receive further feedback on the policy lessons emanating from this research work conducted by the FtF Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project. Following that request, Dr. Takeshima attended a meeting with the Honorable Minister (organized by the Head of PCU) the same day and had a detailed discussion with the HMA on policy issues emerging from this work with a particular focus on agricultural mechanization issues. This clearly demonstrates the policy outreach of this Project at this very high ministerial level, following academically rigorous and highly policy relevant research work conducted by the Project since its inception.
The seminar is part of activities under the Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID/Nigeria) and jointly implemented by Michigan State University and IFPRI’s Nigeria Strategy Support Program.