“Fadama” is a Hausa name for irrigable land--usually low-lying plains underlaid by shallow aquifers found along Nigeria's major river systems. The land is fertile and water is easily accessible, but the Fadamas have also been the scene of conflict among farmers, fishermen, and pastoralists who are vying for land, water, and grazing resources. The Fadama II Project aimed to unlock this potential in a sustainable and equitable fashion, thereby contributing to reduce rural poverty.
Fadama II builds on the positive output and income increase of Fadama I, but reaches out to other non-crop stakeholders on the Fadama land and also promotes the downstream activities of farming. It seeks to empower local communities and improve the government’s capacity to reach out specifically to the various stakeholders in the Fadama areas such as, farmers, fishermen, pastoralists, and poor and vulnerable groups, including women, unemployed youth, disabled, and people living with HIV/AIDS. Importantly, the strategy represented a shift from public sector domination to a Community Driven Development (CDD) approach. IDA was able to induce a paradigm shift in Nigeria by empowering local communities to follow a socially inclusive and participatory process for the preparation and implementation of their own development plans.
The Fadama II Project introduced an innovation in the formulation of Local Development Plans (LDP), which brings all the participating economic interest/resource-user groups together in a socially-inclusive process of collectively identifying the development priorities of their respective communities and translating these priorities into investment activities managed by the communities themselves. This participatory process resolved conflicts and ensured that funded subproject activities represented the interest of the group. The activities in the LDPs, which are funded through a matching grant scheme, include income-generating “community-level assets,” such as fishing nets, water-pumps and activities like business training, agro-processing, demand-driven advisory services, and rural infrastructure (roads, irrigation systems, etc.).
Income-generating activities supported by the Fadama Project have helped communities to achieve tangible results including:
- Income increase: At project completion in 2009, the real income of 50 percent of over 3 million beneficiaries in 12 Nigerian states is estimated to have increased by 63 percent.
- Asset Holding: The project led to a 590 percent and 85 percent increase in the value of group-owned and privately-owned productive assets respectively. A total of 73,599 assets were acquired by 6,301 Fadama User Groups (FUGs) involving about 3.4 million households.
- Capacities Strengthened: The capacities of 6,301 FUGs were strengthened to implement projects involving approximately 3.4 million households. There was a 20 percent increase in returns from the use of advisory services and capacity building on assets and infrastructure, which contributed to the achievement of the overall project objective.
- Conflicts minimized: By December 2009, six of the participating states registered zero conflicts, while the remaining six states reported only a few cases of minor conflicts, reflecting a reduction of 85 percent compared to the baseline. This reduction was made possible through the successful adoption of the LDP planning tool.
- Targeting efficiency: The project successfully targeted womens’ groups (43 percent of all groups) with income increases of more than 400 percent compared with the non-beneficiary women. The average value of the productive assets of the poorest group increased from US$ 90 to about US$ 3,990 through utilization of accrued savings from user-charges to acquire more assets.
- Sustainability: Over 50 percent of the economically-active Fadama Community Associations (FCAs) are beginning productive undertakings with the assistance of conventional sources of funding like commercial banks and other programs.
The total project cost of Fadama II was US$125.4 million, with IDA contributing US$100 million equivalent to support Fadama II operations in 12 states.
The project inspired the African Development Bank (AfDB) to implement similar projects in six additional states (US$30.8 million), raising the total number of Nigerian states benefiting from Fadama II to 18. The AfDB projects incorporate funds from the Global Environment Fund of US$10 million to support sustainable land use and water management. The project also leveraged funds from the Government of Japan to support the preparation of the project (US$800,000), develop social infrastructure (schools, dispensaries) around Fadama communities to enhance the welfare of the rural people, and support the implementation of the project with another grant of US$1 million.
Following the success of Fadama II, the government was strongly committed to the Community Driven Development approach and requested a follow-on project. Launched in 2009, Fadama III (IDA US$250 million equivalent) also relies on demand-driven investments and empowerment of local communities to improve productivity. It is being implemented nationwide in all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. Fadama III will scale up on the results of Fadama II and is specifically focusing on technology improvement, use of information and communication technology, enabling the fadama groups to leverage collaboration between project and research and extension systems, and learning exchanges through South-South Cooperation.
"With the coming of Fadama II Project, our group members have progressed; we can now pay our childrens’ school fees promptly. Our standard of living has improved, because we can now feed ourselves three times daily and wear better dresses. Our fishpond number has increased from one to six ponds and with 15 cows, which we bought from the proceeds of fish farming”.
Alhaji Adamu Chidawa Chairman , Fish Folk FUG – 11 members, Masu Kiwon Kifi of Kwamba Dabara FCA Niger State.
The project supported the group’s prioritized subproject in the LDP with construction of fish pond and fencing in November 2005 at a cost of N2.0 million and agricultural input support in February 2007 at cost of N400, 000.00.
“Before the advent of the Fadama II Project, we had only a sewing machine, but with the coming of the project we now have 10 sewing machines, a designing and a weaving machine from the proceeds. We gave loans to our 10 members of N3,000.00 each with 1 percent interest and repayable in four months. We also gave scholarships to two of our members to study in Niger State Polytechnic Zungeru and Justice Fati Lami Abubakar College of Art and Islamic Legal Studies Minna. In addition, we have now diversified into rearing of livestock with 3 cows, 5 sheep and 10 goats.”
Mallama Rabi Bello is chairperson of Allovo women group of 33 female members of Gwada Fadama Community Association in Shiroro LGA. The group is engaged in imparting tailoring skills to women especially the youth. The Fadama II Project assisted with their prioritized subproject indicated in the LDP with construction of skill acquisition center and provision of sewing machines in 2006 at the cost of N500, 000.00 and the group paid the beneficiary contribution of N50,000.00.