Smallholder farming in Africa is a precarious existence. Aruba Email List Low economies of scale, commodity price swings, out-of-date agronomic practices, and the effects of climate change conspire to trap farm families in a never-ending cycle of poverty. At the same time, Africa’s booming youth population is entering a saturated workforce without enough jobs to absorb them. Aruba Email List In Nigeria, the continent’s most populous nation, that has led to a surge of gang violence and a wave of insurgencies over the last two decades. Kola and Lola Masha, a Nigerian-born and US-educated couple, set out in 2012 to help mitigate the spread of both economic and physical insecurity. Their social enterprise, Babban Gona (“Great Farm” in the Hausa language), offers a rare Aruba Email List model that not only makes farming lucrative and an attractive opportunity for Nigeria’s youth.
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It also has become a profitable and bankable business for commercial Aruba Email List lenders. For the first time, they are committing capital to support smallholder agriculture at large scale—and in the process, potentially creating a pathway out of poverty for millions. Highlights of this episode include: why smallholder farming is central to the poverty problem in Africa (3:42) the wave of violence in Nigeria fueled largely by unemployed youth (7:21) the Mashas’ rigorous process Aruba Email List to identify agriculture as a job-creation engine (9:44) trust groups, or mini-cooperatives, and other core elements of the Babban Gona model (14:22) the impact on the lives of farm families (25:39) how Babban Gona is raising capital to super-scale the model (32:36) and how it mitigates climate change and other risks (39:39). Additional Resources: Source articles for this episode include: Aruba Email List The Role of Smallholder Farms in a Changing World, on the challenges and potential of smallholder agriculture Bending the Arc.
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How The Full Spectrum of Capital Can Enable Inclusive Growth in Aruba Email List Agriculture, with a case study on Babban Gona (p. 29) Politics as War, a Human Rights Watch study of the 2007 violence in Port Harcourt and its roots in the economic and educational inequities for youth The full transcript of the episode is below. * * * Jonathan Levine 00:02 It was 2007 and Kola Masha was coming home. After years of studying and working in the United States, the young business executive was returning to Nigeria to take on a big job: helping to revive the country’s national Aruba Email List fertilizer industry, which had fallen on hard times. Kola Masha 00:25 Really what excited me was, they wanted to help drive an African agricultural Green Revolution, similar to what had happened Aruba Email List in Asia in the ‘60s and ‘70s. I was moving to a town called Port Harcourt, known as the Garden City. It was a lovely place.