The Nigeria Strategy Support Program of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI-NSSP) delivered 16 trainings to close to 400 persons between 25 March and 30 April 2019 in Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Kebbi, Niger and Oyo states and Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The trainings, covered a wide range of areas, including Group Dynamics, Issues in Agriculture, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E), Policy Communications and the use of STATA for policy analysis. Participants included agrodealers, farmer groups, journalists and researchers in universities and ministries of agriculture at federal and state levels.
These trainings are all part of capacity-building activities within the framework of the Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project, aimed at enhancing Nigeria’s capacity to produce and make widely available evidence that would inform sound policymaking for its agricultural sector.
For instance, the trainings on group dynamics, which are targeted at the farmer groups and agrodealers are aimed at improving the information sharing within the various groups and strengthening the intragroup dynamics within and across the various associations. The M&E trainings in addition to strengthening association dynamics are also important in helping actors in the private sector, civil society organizations and researchers measure results and keep track of organizational goals and objectives. Trainings on policy communications are designed to equip various stakeholders with the knowledge and skills to be able to engage and respond effectively in public discussions around various agricultural issues. The trainings on STATA help improve the research analysis skills of early and mid-career researchers working on issues relevant to agricultural policy. Meanwhile the trainings on issues in agriculture are meant to give much needed understanding of the various issues that need addressing in Nigeria’s agricultural sector for policy analysts and programme officers.
While often it is hard to measure initially, such trainings have a ripple effect on the whole system, shaping the way stakeholders think about and approach agricultural issues. They help improve research practice and analysis, equip civil society groups and private sector to engage effectively in policy advocacy and dialogue and encourage journalists to use a wider set of evidence in their agricultural reporting and programming.
For instance, Lunini Elemi, a lecturer at the University of Calabar, had this to say at the end of a STATA training for academics and researchers in Calabar in March 2019, “I intend to step this down to undergraduate students, who will be taught… thereby discouraging them from the ‘check and run’ programme of using data. For me personally, the knowledge from this training will help me in cleaning, analyzing and interpreting results appropriately.”
The Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID|Nigeria) and jointly implemented by Michigan State University and IFPRI-NSSP.