Despite improved technologies and several extension approaches being tried in Nigeria, arable croppers’ productivity has been consistently low. Moreover farmers are usually
not totally enthusiastic about sustained use of proven technologies due to unfavorable economic and policy environment within which they operate. More than ever before,
farmers are being careful to produce only what they have been assured market for. Meanwhile, processors and produce-buyers are in short supply of raw materials. The government operated public extension tends to give much attention to production and
less to post harvest handling and marketing. To induce farmers to produce optimally, effective innovative approaches to production and marketing that ensure adequate value addition and ultimate remunerative price for farmers’ produce would have to be in place. The presidential initiatives on cassava and rice have expanded the markets such that producers need inducement and special assistance from relevant agri-service
providers in marketing their produce. To derive the desired impact of cassava initiative on the national economy, an efficient and well-integrated production and marketing
system is necessary to assure a steady supply of cassava products to domestic industries and European markets. It is also in the same vein that rice producers need to be more structured in their production agenda and be assured of their produce markets. One of the innovative approaches being applied to boost cassava and rice production in Nigeria is the use of groups of out-growers. Several lessons have been learnt from two different cases in contract farming. The lessons culminated in an innovative private extension model where independent extension agency brokers an effective production
and marketing environment for income yielding commodities. Based on the lessons learnt from selected projects, the Farm and Infrastructure Foundation (FIF) has packaged a strengthened commodity – alliance model for sourcing raw materials for agro-based companies using out-growers in Nigeria. In this innovative model FIF as an independent organization creates a platform for effective linkage of markets and farmers for each commodity, and integrating them in terms of fair price determination, information flow and issues resolution. The FIF model will create an in-road for strengthening private extension practice in Nigeria.