Type of Investment

Risk Capital

Project Stage


Length of Investment


Investment Overview

A $2.5m debt investment that supported the expansion of Babban Gona’s innovative agriculture franchise model. The model seeks to sustainably improve the lives of smallholder farmers through the provision of comprehensive farming services.


The Development Challenge

The health of the agricultural sector in Nigeria is critical to the country’s economic wellbeing, accounting for 22% of GDP and employing an estimated 58% of the country’s active workforce. The sector is predominantly made up of smallholder farmers, who produce over 70% of the nation’s food and own over 80% of all agricultural land. However, in the face of challenges such as low economies of scale, lack of finance for key inputs, poor knowledge of best farming practices, low yields, limited storage capacity, and restricted access to formal markets, many smallholders continue to live on less than $2 a day.


The Innovation

An innovative and comprehensive agriculture franchise model that seeks to sustainably improve the lives of smallholder farmers through the provision of end-to-end farming services. Babban Gona operates in rural northern Nigeria, where it provides farmers with all they need to thrive, be it inputs, know-how, harvesting services, or storage. This enables them to increase yields, lower their production costs, and gain a higher price for their crop.


Our Investment

An innovative $2.5m subordinated debt agreement in 2017 that enabled Babban Gona to improve net incomes for more farmers sustainably. It also included a financial incentive to create more impact for farmers. Thirdly, its subordinated position played an important role in helping Babban Gona to attract larger amounts of investment.


Investment Objective

To catalyse capital and fund the company’s expansion in order to tackle multiple constraints in smallholder farming with promising increases to farmer net incomes in an extremely poor region of Nigeria.


Why we invested

Babban Gona is an intervention that tackles multiple constraints in smallholder farming, with promising increases to farmer net incomes. 

It operates in an extremely poor region of Nigeria, where few interventions have managed to generate sustainable impact. 

The end-to-end engagement with farmers allowed for robust data collection and quantification of outcomes. 

Further, the significant pace of growth at the time suggested an efficient and replicable model. 

Babban Gona also boasted strong Nigerian social entrepreneurship and an all-African national staff.

Lastly, this was an opportunity for GIF to play a catalytic role in unlocking DFI capital.


Babban Gona in numbers


Individuals impacted to date


Smallholder farmers supported in 2020 alone


Innovating for Climate Resilience

Agriculture is susceptible to climate change as its negative impacts affect crop yields and livestock. Farmers in Nigeria with no viable means to increase their yields often engage in unsustainable agricultural practices which increase the effect of climate change and threaten farmers’ livelihoods and food supply.

Climate change mitigation initiatives include farmers' training which promotes reduced deforestation, reduced crop burning, improved crop rotation, and optimised input use. To build Babban Gona farmers’ resilience to climate related shocks, Babban Gona implements innovative solutions to increase their productivity and profitability (i.e. post-harvest solutions to reduce losses) and takes out yield insurance in the case of extreme weather conditions to provide disaster relief.