Bridging the Gap

Our Projects

Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Extension & Advisory Services Activity

Connexus is working with USAID and Winrock International to implement the Feed the Future Nigeria AEAS Activity, leveraging the power of Nigerian entrepreneurship to facilitate learning, replication, and scale around alternative models of extension to increase access and adoption of agricultural technologies for at least two million smallholder farmers (SHFs) in Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Kebbi, and Niger states. Using “Lean Farm” principles and tools to develop a deep understanding of existing production systems to identify the most impactful practices (MIPs) to improve efficiency and increase return on investment for farmers, AEAS leverages micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as change agents around on-farm opportunities in the cowpea, maize, soybean, rice, and aquaculture value chains. Connexus facilitates private sector engagement and works with MSMEs (including farmers) to connect them with financial institutions (FIs) and design, pilot, and scale suitable financial products, including bundled financing packages for SHFs, especially women and youth.

In Year 1, Connexus interviewed 10 FIs and 25 private sector firms and integrated the findings into the Mapping to Markets and Lean Analysis. Connexus also designed and delivered a training of trainers on Creative Approaches to Smallholder Finance to more than 40 representatives from partner institutions and is now working with them to design and implement action plans. In Year 2, Connexus trained 12 partner FIs on Agricultural Finance Product Design, Adaptation, and Delivery mechanisms and worked with them to develop financial products that will support MIPs and upgrading in the target value chains, which are now being pilot tested. We conducted 13 focus groups with community-based informal FIs to extract and document additional models to support underserved SHFs. We also trained 199 participants on business development services to improve financial literacy and management.

In Year 3, Connexus conducted two trainings of trainers (ToTs), one for FIs on proven community-based financial services practices and credit enhancement tools to strengthen agricultural finance for smallholder farmers, including highlighting how banks can consider financing community-based financial service providers (CBFSPs) that can on-lend to smallholder farmers. The second ToT was for CBFSPs on governance, financial analysis, and credit request documentation and focused on what changes CBFSPs might need to make to improve their institution’s access to finance from a formal FI. Thirty-eight individuals from 12 FIs registered for the ToT on strengthening agricultural finance, and 94 CBFSP representatives registered for the governance and agricultural value chain finance ToT, which had an average daily attendance of 50 individuals.

To date, the activity has forged relationships with 282 MSMEs committed to commercializing and integrating the MIPs into their service delivery models. Applying a gender and social inclusion lens, Connexus is linking partner FIs to SHFs with an emphasis on women and youth, with an estimated pipeline of more than $100M. As of the end of Q3Y3, we leveraged almost $4.2M in private investment and $7.4M in ag-related finance. To date, the activity has benefited 22,540 Nigerians, including 32% women and 24% youth, who have increased access to productive resources. This includes 465 new jobs created, especially for women and youth. In FY22, the activity helped increase productive yields by 387% for aquaculture, 116% for cowpea, 59% for maize, 26% for rice, and 66% for soybean. Over the life of the project, Connexus will help facilitate $60M in agriculture-related financing linked with improved agricultural extension and advisory services.


Winrock International