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farmersneeds.org: Answering farmers'' needs in Nigeria








Farmers-need.org (FARNO) is a demand-driven information system for life-long learning and improved food and livelihood security for farmers in Sub Saharan Africa. The needs are threefold.  Farmers need information to produce, process,  and market their commodities, need to develop linkages with inputs agencies including credit organizations, and they also need to get linkages with the output markets to enable them get the best from their commodities.   Farmersneeds.org is specially designed to answer needs of rural farmers in Nigeria by facilitating access to information on:

  • Food production,

  • Processing,

  • Marketing

  • Rural enterprise development.

Facilitate linkages with :

  • fertilizer agents

  • agrochemical agents

  • agencies that provide credit for agriculture


Facilitate access to the output market through:

  • provision of market information

  • linkages with guaranteed markets

  • linkages with agroindustries


FARNO  is a holistic ICT/ODL based approach for the transformation of rural agriculture from production to  the market. This is an innovative solution to the inefficient agricultural extension system in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. Research have shown that information backed with efficient linkages with input and output markets are the most critical factors required to transit from peasantry to viable commercial agricultural production in rural Africa.  FARNO  exist to meet this need.

 Information centre at Ago-Are with the Dish for ICT connection


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To provide a meeting point for different stakeholders in the agricultural production /marketing chain. This includes the farmers, commodity buyers, manufacturers, marketers, processors and credit institutions. The aim is to significantly improved food and livelihood security for the farmers and other stakeholders through unfettered access to diverse, timely and relevant information covering every aspect of agricultural production, processing, marketing and linkages to relevant input and output agencies. To achieve the stated goals, FARNO renders many services.



1.         Community Help Desk




The help desk is a demand-driven information facility for learning. Through a question and answer service, it provides quality information to farmers and community leaders on topics of food production, processing, marketing, market trends etc. The help desk is  an extension of IITA’s Information and Communications Services (ICS) in Ibadan. The Ago-Are help desk is equipped with a high frequency two-way radio, which enable audio and text communication with operators at IITA.  The radio enhances current help desk practice, which though sometimes uses Internet, and SMS services, is basically interpersonal.  The radio though presently situated in  the project pilot area of Ago-Are, it has potential to serve other communities across Nigeria through extension.


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Farmers working at the Information centre Ago-Are







Farmers working in the information center with the Computer Assistant


2.         Notice and Information Board:


Description: Street-side sandwich boards display up-to-date information on market prices, upcoming events and programs at the resource center, training programs, newly available information etc. They are also used to advertise the rental facilities and the snack bar. Texts are displayed in both English and local dialects e.g. Yoruba.


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 Village Information board



3.         Farming Implements Rental Facility


Description: For a reasonable fee (set by the farming community) farmers are able to rent much needed, but generally out-of-reach implements, such as a multi-purpose thresher, planters, water pump and hose, backpack sprayer and portable cassava graters. The farming implements rental facility  generate income and ensure sustainability of the resource center.




4.         Television/Video Presentations and Snack Bar


Description: The center presents television & video shows on a wide range of educational topics, such as current affairs, agriculture, environment, health, HIV/AIDS, nutrition and business. Entrance to these shows is free of charge.


To draw the public to the resource center, and generate small revenues, entertainment programs (sports, dramatic programs and other popular shows) are also shown every night. Entrance to these shows attracts about N20 ($0.20 CDN) fee. Educational clips are shown during break times.


Simple snacks, such as soft drinks, peanuts and meat pies, will be available at all shows.


5.         Radio and Television Broadcasts


Description: Regular radio and television broadcasts are made through a grass roots station in the neighborhood that  provide up-dates on market trends and  publicize services and upcoming events at the community information access point.




6.        Develop Open Distance Learning Material




Several  ODL materials that address the primary needs of farmers have been developed.  The needs of the farmers are determined through a rapid appraisal and confirmed by the baseline survey.  Materials are developed to train farmers in identified problem areas in the production, processing, and marketing of major crops in Ago-Are including cassava, maize, watermelon and egusi melon.   The project has trained 5 “change agents” in the organization and implementation of ODL programs for farmers.  The purpose of the ODL material is to support community learning and meet the primary needs of the community by providing extension tools that will enable change agents to reach large numbers of community members.



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Five Change Agents




Participants are instructed in the following areas:




Using ICT/ODL based materials


Sourcing inputs for commercial agricultural production


Using modern production techniques to produce their commodities


Processing produce to add more value for higher income


Marketing commodities economically


Developing and managing small scale enterprises


Effectively sharing knowledge, information and skills with farmer target learners



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 Some of the farmers



Available ODL Training course materials consist of:




1)   Training Manuals on identified problems


2)   “Step by Step” Illustrated Guides on cropping practices, processing and


marketing methods: 


 i)    Production of Maize


ii)    Production of watermelon


iii)   Production of egusi melon


iv)   Production of cassava


v)    Harvesting and marketing of maize


vi)   Rapid multiplication of cassava


vii)   Enterprise development and management




 3)   Seven “Step by Step” video Guides covering each  of  the above topics


 4)    A CD-Rom package of all of the above.  The CD-Rom is used with the computers that are in place and can be accessed online. 




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Some participating farmers














1.      International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)


2.      Commonwealth of Learning (COL)


3.      Oke-Ogun Community Development Network (OCDN)


4.      Total Development International Foundation (TODEV)


5       Bowen University   


6.      University of Ibadan


7.      Oyo State Agricultural Development Project (OYSADEP)



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Fair use of the material on this website is encouraged. Short excerpts of text may be quoted provided that the source is acknowledged; however, for permission to use substantial quantities of text, or images, please contact IITA/COL program, the Administrator, or w.adekunle@cgiar.org.   The project was implemented by IITA in collaboration with Total Development International Foundation, Oke-Ogun Community Development Network, Oyo State Agricultural Development Program, University of Ibadan and Bowen University Iwo, Nigeria 2005 IITA.