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Modernizing postharvest operations services to attract youth in agribusiness: A new business model for policy actions
Nigeria’s rice value chain is still facing a high rate of post-harvest losses which is estimated at 25%, thus limiting its effective contribution to SDG 2 (Zero hunger). This country is also experiencing a decline of youth’s interest in farming enterprises especially in rice farming because of the drudgery of the work and the many constraints they face. This study used a demand-driven approach and contingent valuation method combined with a two-stage approach to identify 1) the types of rice business services that youth can provide in the post-harvest segment of the rice value chain and 2) the drivers of farmers’ willingness to upgrade and to pay for services to be provided by youth using mechanized harvesting equipment. Descriptive results of data collected from 290 farmers randomly selected in Nassarawa and Kano rice hubs in Nigeria reveal that harvesting and threshing are perceived by farmers as the main business opportunities for youth. Moreover, about 89% and 92% of farmers are willing to upgrade the traditional method to the use of the mini-harvester and the reaper respectively and are willing to pay for postharvest services using that equipment. However, compared to the cost of the traditional method, farmers are willing to pay 27% and 22% less for the mini-harvester and reaper respectively. Among the two technologies, farmers have a strong preference for the reaper (82%). Results from a double hurdle model revealed that access to credit, extension services, training and having knowledge on issues related to post-harvest losses increase farmers’ willingness to upgrade and pay for services using improved harvesting equipment. The study suggests that policy actions supporting youth with modern post-harvest equipment and capacity development will spark their engagement in the provision of services to farmers and, thus contribute to the SDG8 (decent work and economic growth) in Nigeria. Furthermore, facilitating farmers’ access to credit, extension services and their knowledge of post-harvest losses issues will contribute to rice value chain upgrading, thus contributing to SDG 2.