Partnership aims to create 560,000 work opportunities for young entrepreneurs and small farmers


Photo: Mastercard Foundation

Babban Gona is a successful social enterprise, part-owned by the farmers it serves.


Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works is partnering with Babban Gona, a successful social enterprise in the agricultural sector in Nigeria, which is part-owned by the farmers it serves. Through this partnership, Babban Gona intends to create 560,000 work opportunities for young entrepreneurs and smallholder farmers by 2024 and 7.5 million by 2030.


Five Young Africa Works partners in Nigeria (Access Bank, Sterling Bank, EDC, IITA and NIRSAL) are collaborating to provide integrated delivery of training, leadership development and financing to support young grassroot level entrepreneurs.


The partnership with Babban Gona is building on an existing model tested with Trust Group Entrepreneurs that manage Trust Groups, comprising of 3 to 5 farmers per group. The model is sustainable and, if replicated, can unlock youth entrepreneurship, scale young women’s participation in rural economies and enable young people to innovate and service a growing agribusiness market. It places the young person at the core of its business expansion and empowers them to run their own franchised agribusiness.


Talatu Ibrahim is a Trust Group Entrepreneur with Babban Gona from the small community of Rafin Guza. This community is one of the settlements on the banks of River Kaduna and is located in Kaduna-North Local Government Area in Nigeria, with a population of about 200,000 people.

‘The quickest way to get to my community is by canoe, and this has been a great challenge for us,” Talutu explains.

“Another challenge we had was with getting our farming supplies i.e. fertilizers and seeds. Every year was the same—full of uncertainty about how to get what we needed.”

Talatu’s decision to join Babban Gona was borne out of curiosity and a desperate search for solutions. Her first encounter with the Field Officers from Babban Gona was when they came to her village. She listened with excitement as they explained the support that the company provides to agricultural entrepreneurs.


Once Talatu joined Babban Gona she began attending training sessions organized by the company and was further assured that she had made the right decision based on the countless ‘aha!’ moments she had during the trainings. She learned about sessions which gave her insight into the proper methods of planting, fertilizer application and farm management practices- pointers to why she had not been getting the best yield from her farm.


The season before she joined Babban Gona, Talatu harvested 15 bags of produce from her 1 Hectare (ha) farm. After joining Babban Gona, she got 45 bags from the same land in one season and received bonus payments from Babban Gona following the season.

Talatu now has enough money to send her daughter and son to better schools.

“I am grateful to Babban Gona for changing my life,” she says. “I look around and can see the transformation that has taken place in our home. My children are well-fed and in good schools; We have also refurbished our home and bought additional land. All I see around me is growth.”

The new season has begun, and Talatu is once again full of hope for an increased income by partnering with Babban Gona.

“My team members and I were so pleased with our last season with Babban Gona, and through this we have been able to increase our team’s combined hectare size from 4 ha to 8 ha,” she explains.

“We are excited for what the future holds, and are grateful to Babban Gona for showing us the path to succeeding.”


This article was originally published by Mastercard Foundation