APRA blog

Do women cocoa farmers in Nigeria face gender disparities in resource access, decision-making and food security?
October 2, 2023

Cocoa is a significant source of revenue for farmers in Nigeria. While women play an important part in the cocoa industry, gender norms reduce their access to resources that have the potential to enhance their production.

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© IFAD/Bernard Kalu
How important is farm size to agricultural productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa?
December 1, 2022

The finding that smallholder farms are more productive than medium- to large-scale farms has long been documented, and has led to smallholder-led agricultural and development strategies in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). However, evidence for this assertion has been largely limited to data from farms operating 5ha and below. More recent evidence from Nigeria suggests that productivity varies widely within farms, regardless of farm size. This blog examines our recent study, utilizing data over a wider range of farm sizes over two years in Nigeria to further investigate how productivity relates to farm size.

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Boosting commercialisation through the production of commercial tree crops in Nigeria
November 7, 2022

Farming in Nigeria has been historically dominated by small-scale farms (SSFs). However, recent evidence suggests that medium-scale farmers (MSFs) are becoming increasingly prominent. One pathway for MSF growth in Nigeria has been identified as the expansion of land area under commercial tree crop plantations, such as cocoa, cashew, oil palm, kola nut, and coconut. However, very little is currently known about the factors that drive this expansion. Our recently published journal paper aimed to fill this gap.

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Changing farm structure and agricultural commercialisation in Nigeria
June 6, 2022

Much of sub‐Saharan Africa, including Nigeria, is experiencing major changes in farmland ownership patterns. Among all farms below 100ha in size, the share of land on small‐scale farms (SSFs) under 5ha has declined over the last two decades. Medium‐scale farms (MSFs) (typically defined as farm holdings between 5 and 50ha) account for a rising share of total farmland, and the number of these farms is growing rapidly.

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Medium-scale farming as a policy tool for agricultural commercialisation and small-scale farm transformation in Nigeria
May 12, 2022

Land ownership patterns are changing in sub-Saharan Africa. In Ghana, Kenya and Zambia, medium-scale farms (MSFs), of between 5 and 100ha now account for more land than large-scale investors. Most African countries’ national agricultural investment plans and policy strategies officially view smallholder farming as the primary means of achieving agricultural growth, food security and poverty-reduction goals. However, many governments have adopted land and financial policies that implicitly encourage the rise of MSFs. APRA Policy Brief 32 investigates various questions around the formation, productivity and local impacts of MSFs in Nigeria; the main findings are summarised here.

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A tale of two countries: patterns and drivers of smallholder commercialisation in Ghana and Nigeria
April 19, 2022

What are the emerging patterns of agricultural commercialisation in Ghana and Nigeria? Are there geographical and gender differences in commercialisation among households? How have poverty levels changed over time? What are the key drivers of agricultural commercialisation in the two countries? The current blog, the first of a two-part series, draws answers to these questions from a recent APRA study on the Patterns and drivers of agricultural commercialisation: evidence from Ghana, Nigeria, and Malawi. Findings from the study are based on household-level data from two rounds of Ghana’s Living Standard Surveys (GLSS6 in 2012/13 and GLSS7 in 2016/17); and the two rounds of Nigeria’s General Household Surveys (GHS-Panel) in 2010/2011 (GHS-Panel 1) and 2015/2016 (GHS-Panel 3).

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Cocoa Commercialisation in Nigeria: Issues and Prospects
February 24, 2022

Cocoa remains a relevant cash crop in Nigeria and is produced largely by small-scale farmers dominant in the country’s southwest region. Insights from historical trends, from 1807 when the crop was introduced until the millennium era, indicated myriads of challenges threatening cocoa commercialisation. Nonetheless, concerted efforts of successive governments to revive the sector and resilience of cocoa farmers, despite declines in production witnessed in recent years, have sustained cocoa production in Nigeria. Pre- and post-independence regimes leveraged on cocoa as a source of foreign earnings, which was short-lived with the advent of discovery of petroleum in early 70s. APRA Working Paper 79 explores these trends, issues and prospects around cocoa commercialisation in southwestern Nigeria to understand how cocoa commercialisation might progress and serve those involved in it in future.

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Agrarian change and rural transformation in sub-Saharan Africa: Emerging challenges and regional realities
January 27, 2022

On 20 January 2022, an e-dialogue was convened to analyse the dynamics of agricultural commercialisation and agrarian change across East, West, and Southern Africa. The programme began with participants engaging in three parallel regional presentations and discussions, and culminated in a continental-level panel involving expert commentators and audience questions.

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A multi-phase assessment of the effects of COVID-19 on food systems and rural livelihoods in Nigeria
January 17, 2022

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Nigeria, there have been serious concerns about the impact of the pandemic on agri-food systems, given that most of the population depend directly or indirectly on agriculture for their livelihoods. These concerns are compounded by the fragile state of the country’s health and food systems. This blog summarises the findings of APRA’s A Multi-Phase Assessment of the Effects of COVID-19 on Food Systems and Rural Livelihoods in Nigeria, which studied the differential impacts of the pandemic on agricultural commercialisation, food and nutrition security, employment, poverty, and well-being in rural households. The assessment was designed to help gain timely insights into how the COVID-19 crisis was unfolding in various parts of Nigeria and how rural people and food and livelihood systems were responding.

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Ogun State community meetings push for policy on medium-scale farming
December 13, 2021

Following the conclusion of their research into the opportunities and challenges of medium-scale farming as a pathway to inclusive agricultural commercialisation and improved livelihood outcomes for farming families across Nigeria, researchers on the APRA Nigeria Work Stream 1 (WS1) team have been engaging farmers, community leaders and policymakers to discuss the findings of its studies. These engagements have included dissemination events in Kaduna State and, even more recently, two stakeholder meetings in Ogun State held at the palace of His Royal Majesty, the Onimeko of Imeko on 22 November 2021 and in Ijebu East local government headquarters, Ogbere on 23 November 2021. These events have been held with the aim to share findings and develop policy insights, and include in that process those with the ability to incorporate the findings into actionable policy measures, as well as those impacted by any resulting policies.

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APRA Nigeria team shares research findings in Kaduna State
November 17, 2021

To disseminate their research results and the policy implications that arise from the APRA Nigeria Work Stream 1 (WS1) research, project team gathered community members in two areas of Kaduna State on the 15th-16th November 2021. These events were the first in a series of community-level workshops, which will be followed by a national dissemination workshop in December 2021.

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Agricultural commercialisation in Africa, COVID-19 and social difference
November 15, 2021

African policymaking has turned to agricultural commercialisation as an engine of growth in the 21st century. But the effects have not been the same for everyone, entrenching long-term social difference based on gender, wealth, age and generation, ethnicity and citizenship. Social differentiation within commercial agriculture is shaped by power dynamics and the distribution of benefits between elites, and their relationship with the formal and informal institutions that underpin political systems. This idea of a ‘political settlement’ in the way that power is exercised between groups, often to avoid conflict or to give preferential access to a specific resource, gives different groups of people different standing within agricultural value chains. COVID-19 as a type of shock also shapes political settlements and the resilience of different actors in their response to the pandemic. It can also reinforce pre-existing trends in social differentiation. APRA’s research showed how this has happened across Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe, and APRA Working Paper 69 presents the research findings.

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Are smallholder farms or medium-scale farms more productive in Nigeria?
September 2, 2021

In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), support for smallholder-led agricultural strategy has been motivated by the stylised fact that smallholder farmers are more productive. This stylised fact is known as inverse relationship (IR) between farm size and productivity, which has been widely observed in developing countries around the world. Broadly, the IR suggests that smaller farms are more productive than larger farms. However, documented evidence of IR in SSA is largely limited to farms operating 5ha or less. This blog looks to a recent study of a greater range of farm sizes in Nigeria to better understand the reality of productivity as it relates to farm size.

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The political economy of the maize value chain in Nigeria
July 22, 2021

This blog explores the findings of APRA Working Paper 60, investigating the political economy of the maize value chain in Nigeria. This study focused on how the political economy dynamics can contribute to understanding the drivers and constraints of agricultural commercialisation in the country, and the government’s role in enhancing this process.

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Challenges to commercialisation of the rice and cocoa value chains in Nigeria
March 22, 2021

In this blog summarising his research in the newly published in APRA Working Paper 52, APRA researcher Emmanuel Remi Aiyede highlights the challenges facing the rice and cocoa sector in Nigeria. He outlines the findings from the paper, how COVID-19 has impacted the value chains, and provides policy advice on how Nigerian governments can improve the outlook for these two core agricultural crops.

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Cocoa farming: Experiences beyond the Osun River bank, Ogun State, Nigeria
March 8, 2021

In this blog, the APRA Nigeria Work Stream 2 team examined the different types of land ownership (leasing and borrowing), and the impact of a new generation of young farmers beyond the Osun river bank. They also investigated the effect structured marketing systems, labour arrangements for the large force of migrant workers, and challenges to cocoa production in the area. The APRA team also gave their thoughts on the field trip.

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Armed conflicts, land expansion and resilience: evidence from Nigeria
December 17, 2020

In this blog, APRA researchers Adesoji Adelaja and Justin George summarise their two latest working papers on the role of resilience factors in mitigating the negative effects of conflict on land expansion, and how conflicts affect land expansion by smallholder farmers in Nigeria. They condense the findings from both studies and offer policy recommendations on… Read more »

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Drivers of market orientation among farm households in Nigeria
December 14, 2020

APRA academics Adebayo Aromolaran, Milu Muyanga and Thomas Jayne summarise their latest working paper to look the drivers of market-orientated land use decisions among farm households in Nigeria, with particular focus on Ogun and Kaduna states.  The authors then suggest possible government interventions in order to increase access to input and output markets. This blog… Read more »

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Can medium scale farms contribute to smallholder commercialisation and welfare in Nigeria?
October 22, 2020

APRA researchers Lenis Saweda O. Liverpool-Tasie and Salim Nuhu summarise their team’s effort to explore the beneficial relationship between small-scale and medium-scale farms in Nigeria, where frequent interactions between the two are boosting the productivity and welfare of small scale farmers. They then look at policy implications, and how the government can help support this… Read more »

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Policy options for expanding land under commercial tree crops cultivation in Nigeria
October 15, 2020

Tree crops are key to Nigeria’s economy, yet the production yield of crops such as cocoa is falls well below the demand. In our latest blog, APRA researcher Adebayo B. Aromolaran and his colleagues examine the different options available to policymakers to bolster production, and that can make long-standing difference to the sector. This blog… Read more »

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The unintended consequences of COVID19 lockdown in Nigeria
September 10, 2020

Although the COVID19 pandemic has not yet affected Nigeria to the same extent as some countries, the Nigerian Government introduced strict lockdown measures across the country to restrict the spread of the virus. In our latest blog, APRA researchers Adebayo B Aromolaran, Fadlulah O Issa and Milu Muyanga examine what the impact has been the… Read more »

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Poor rural roads: Is cocoa still a ‘wealth spinning exercise’ in Ondo State, Nigeria?
August 6, 2020

In a previous APRA blog, we explained how unscrupulous activities of loggers in Idanre, Ondo State, Nigeria were causing hardship for many cocoa farms. In this blog, APRA researcher Oluwasegun Ajetunmobi travels to Idanre to examine the poor state of roads and detrimental impact they have on the cocoa industry and the well-being of those… Read more »

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Dynamics of change in cocoa enterprise in Ile-Oluji, Nigeria
July 9, 2020

Cocoa production in Ile-Oluji is among the highest in Ondo State, Nigeria. However, this once prosperous crop – vital for the livelihood of farmers and their families – is under threat due to an increase of cash crops, a lack of youth involvement, and poor infrastructure and amenities. APRA researcher Oluwasegun Ajetunmobi investigates the dynamics… Read more »

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Loggers on the attack: Cocoa farming in Idanre, Nigeria
June 25, 2020

Cocoa farmers in Idanre, Ondo State, Nigeria are suffering from the activities of loggers which leads to damaged farms and has a detrimental impact on the livelihoods of farmers. In our latest blog, APRA researcher Bimbo Omopo describes what he saw during his study in the cocoa farming communities and outlines what action is needed… Read more »

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Gender inequalities in Nigerian cocoa production
June 4, 2020

Women play a key role in the Nigeria cocoa sector, but in a patrilineal society, they are denied access to inheriting family cocoa plantations despite their vital contribution to the industry. In this blog, APRA researcher Tolani Abegunde examines the reasons for this disparity and suggests a possible way forward. Written by Tolani Abegunde The… Read more »

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Sustainability of cocoa in Nigeria: preventing the worst case scenarios
May 21, 2020

The sustainability of cocoa in Nigeria – a very important household cash crop in the country – is under threat and action needs to be taken. In this blog, Oluwabukola E. Ajayi describes the concept of sustainability in cocoa farming, and lists the problems already affecting cocoa farming that could deteriorate if steps are not… Read more »

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Cocoa commercialisation: findings from Osun state, Nigeria
April 30, 2020

Written by Olubusayo Olorunkoya Following on from our previous blog on the state of cocoa commercialisation in Ogun state, this blog examines the findings of APRA survey results in Nigeria’s 2nd largest producer of Cocoa: Osun state. Surveying method Taking place between 21st and 23rd of August, 2019, the APRA exploratory survey was conducted in… Read more »

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The challenges of cocoa bean commercialisation in Ogun state, Nigeria
April 16, 2020

Please note: During this time of uncertainty caused by the #COVID19 pandemic, as for many at this time, some of our APRA work may well be affected in coming weeks but we aim to continue to post regular blogs and news updates on agricultural policy and research. Written by Olubusayo Olorunkoya and Olajide O. Adeola… Read more »

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Youth and a lack of involvement in cocoa production in southwest Nigeria
April 6, 2020

Please note: During this time of uncertainty caused by the #COVID19 pandemic, as for many at this time, some of our APRA work may well be affected in coming weeks but we aim to continue to post regular blogs and news updates on agricultural policy and research. This blog was prepared by Olabanji T.Balogun and… Read more »

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Political economy of agricultural commercialisation in Nigeria
March 16, 2020

Background The historical and contemporary importance and contributions of agriculture to industrialisation and human development cannot be over-emphasised. Although pre-colonial agriculture in Africa consisted of peasant agriculture, for better accumulation, colonialism brought about a market and export oriented agriculture to Africa. Agricultural commercialisation in Nigeria had roots in the colonial political economy, and is defined… Read more »

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Climate change and the future of cocoa in southwest Nigeria
March 9, 2020

Cocoa, and products related to it, are an integral part towards the daily life of an average Nigerian. According to the National Bureau Statistics (NBS, 2019), exports of fermented cocoa bean in the first half of 2019 was estimated at N31 billion (£65 million), while raw cocoa beans exports worth N17.15 billion (£37 million) and… Read more »

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Shaking off decades of stagnation in the Nigeria cocoa sector
February 6, 2020

Cocoa remains Nigeria’s most important non-oil export commodity. However, in five decades, Nigeria has dropped from the second largest to the fourth largest producer of cocoa in the world, behind Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Indonesia. Nigeria is currently contributing 5 percent of global cocoa output, but with significant scope for expansion. This blog highlights critical… Read more »

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The case for integrated organic farms in Nigeria
January 23, 2020

Efforts by the Government to reduce food imports, increase food availability and incomes from agriculture could put more pressure on land use through the growth of medium/large scale farms, and an expansion in area cultivated by smallholder farms across Nigeria. This could, in turn, create a situation of unregulated expansion of cultivable land under “conventional… Read more »

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Top Tips from APRA’s Policy friends
January 16, 2020

During APRA’s recent annual meeting in Naivasha from 2-6 December 2019, a panel of distinguished policy voices made up of representatives from Department for International Development (DFID), African Union (AU), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Tegemeo Institute, Agricultural Non-State Actors Forum (ANSAF), and independent consultants shared their perspectives and offered advice on how to guarantee… Read more »

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APRA Annual Workshop 2019 hosted by CABE
December 19, 2019

The Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship (CABE) successfully hosted the APRA Annual Review and Planning Workshop in Naivasha, Kenya from 2-6 December 2019. Members of the three APRA work streams and APRA Consortium, stationed at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), also participated. The theme of this year’s workshop was Impact, Communications and Engagement (ICE).  It… Read more »

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Livelihood trajectories in the Nigerian cocoa industry: An exploratory study of smallholder cocoa farmers in Ondo State
November 28, 2019

The Nigerian cocoa industry has seen a resurgence with the recognition of agriculture in national economic development. However, its level of growth, especially with regards to commercialisation has been limited. There have been reported cases of cocoa farms being sold to give way to other enterprises; at the same time, there have been reports of… Read more »

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The future of cocoa production in south western Nigeria: Stakeholder insights
November 4, 2019

Background Agricultural enterprise in Nigeria’s economy has played a key participatory role by addressing the issues of poverty, food insecurity, unemployment and foreign revenue acquisition. Cocoa has been integral to  championing the agricultural economy as it remains the top most exported cash crop, alongside oil palm and rubber, accounting for 58.4 per cent of Nigerian… Read more »

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APRA presents at AAAE conference
October 14, 2019

“Rising to meet new challenges: Africa’s agricultural development beyond 2020 Vision” was the theme for the 6th  African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE) triennial conference, which took place on the 23-26th September 2019 at the Sheraton Hotel in Abuja, Nigeria. Professor G. B. Ayoola, the President at Farm & Infrastructure Foundation (FIF) chaired the 6th AAAE Conference Local Organising Committee. In… Read more »

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The Future of Cocoa Production in Nigeria: An Account of Adegeye’s Extensive Research Experiences
August 1, 2019

Cocoa farming is a profitable cash crop due to its economically diverse value chain products, as well as the international acceptance of that. Players and actors in cocoa value chain are the direct beneficiaries of this venture.  Nonetheless, Nigerian cocoa farmers have not fully utilized its inherent potentials, as majority of farmers concentrate only on… Read more »

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Waste to Wealth: Indigenous Cocoa Farmers in Nigeria
January 17, 2019

The subject of poverty, particularly among rural households, has been a dominant discourse among academics in Nigeria for over three decades – despite the economic potential that abounds in the country’s agricultural sector, and the cocoa sector in particular. Often, cocoa farmers concentrate mainly on the bean seed because of the ‘cash’ associated with the… Read more »

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Nigeria: Vieiwing Iwara’s Cocoa Sector Through a Gendered Lens
November 22, 2018

The commercialisation of agriculture is pivotal in the development of rural economies, and ultimately helping farmers to escape poverty. In Nigeria, cocoa production is paramount for raising farmers’ income and economic status. The commercialisation of subsistence agriculture can help to improve the capacity of actors along the value chain to participate profitably in the cocoa… Read more »

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APRA Nigeria: Experiences and voices from Ogun and Kaduna States
July 18, 2018

The household survey for APRA-Nigeria work stream (WS) 1 and 3 ran between April 9 and May 25, 2018. In Ogun State, the survey was carried out in three Local Government Areas (LGAs): Ijebu East, Imeko Afon, and Obafemi Owondo. In Kaduna State, the survey was carried out in Kachia, Chikun, and Soba. Due to… Read more »

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