In three years time, Agri-Hub Niger has developed into a vibrant network for information sharing, cooperation, learning and debate amongst rural entrepreneurs. The Agri-Hub connects 20 agricultural organizations and 171 individual members in Niger, the Agroforestry capital of the world. The Nigerien Agri-Hub was set up by the Dutch Agri-ProFocus network and Oxfam-Novib.
Back in 2010, Frank van Schoubroeck -Agroforestry expert at Partners for Innovation- supported the Agri-Hub to define key themes (“hot issues”) that would help different organisations to cooperate. This summer he returned to interview key individuals of the Agri-Hub. He shared his observations – together with local coordinator Ibrahim Oumarou – in the article ‘Brief history of a farmer entrepreneurship network‘.
From animosity to synergy
According to the interviewees, it wasn’t the technical but rather human obstacles that were most difficult to overcome. A pastoralist organisation said: “Before the project, cooperation between consortium partners was everything but the norm. Every organisation thought he was unique; there was little trust and they were all competing for the same funds. Three years later I found a group of enthusiastic people who managed to overcome fatigue, jealousy and ignorance.”
Agroforestry is now a theme
Partners for Innovation supports the Niger Agri-Hub to develop Agroforestry-based business models. Eventually Partners for Innovation wants to develop an investment model in Agroforestry, so that – with policy support – women, men and young entrepreneurial farmers can establish Agroforestry gardens through long-term credit.
- Contact Frank van Schoubroeck
- Read a Brief history of a farmer entrepreneurship network (pdf)
- Visit Agri-Hub Niger
- Visit Agri-ProFocus