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The NoduMax factory continues to manufacture and market quality soyabean inoculant to Nigeria, West African neighbours and venturing into various other SSA region countries.

Production. With the present set-up, annual production capacity is 16 tons or 0.5 ton weekly. This can be increased by deploying more autoclaves, extending the production months and automating the present hand filling activity. To meet the demand foreseen in 2018 onwards, Just in Time Logistics and production planning will become increasingly important.

The main production bottle neck is working capital. Presently orders are produced months in advance while revenues have been subject to lengthy processes notably the Anchor Borrower Program (ABP). When volumes will increase so will this cashflow problem, hence private investors require to come on board to enable production at scale.

Sales. During 2017 the factory production was about 11.6 tons of NoduMax (116,000 units). This is an increase of 76% over the similar interval in 2016 (6.6 tons). In 2015 only 3 tons was sold of which the majority was sold into projects of IITA. Of this 2017 production, about 7.2 tons was distributed to 45 customers. Some of this distributed product was carried over from the previous year. This could be done as the good quality of the produced product resulted a longer shelf life. There are pending orders of another 3 to 4 ton in 2017 for delivery in the early 2018 soyabean season. The latter are reserved for the ABP which will soon finalize contracts and release the loan facility for payments.

If all sales forecasted will be paid before 31 December 2017 the financial result will be a modest but first time annual net profit for Nodumax.

Sales in the SSA region comprised Mozambique (0.2 ton) Togo (0.1 ton) with ongoing discussion for Zambia. Benin took 200 kg in 2015 but awaiting payment fell out in 2016. Promising developments were recently seen in Ghana and in a follow-up the MoFA director will visit IITA to discuss the production & supply of breeder and foundation seeds by BIP-Go-Seed. This will open the door to significant Nodumax sales in Ghana as mentioned below.

Way forward. The marketing and dissemination of NoduMax needs to be further intensified Over the years and recently through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) with N2Africa and CABI-ASHC projects, the distributor Intrio Synergy Limited (ISL) developed radio campaigns, posters, flyers and videos to reach all major soyabean growing areas in 2018. This consortium and private sector distributor Green-Ef village implemented similar campaigns in Ghana. Through demonstrations, trainings and media campaigns N2Africa and its partners reached near one million farmers in SSA and will continue to be in support of Nodumax in 2018.

BIP Nigeria and Ghana distributors will aim to establish designated Nodumax sales depots complementing their agro-dealer networks as retail outlets. Important 2018 sales volumes are expected with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) ABP that provides registered farmers input credit facilities. In Ghana negotiations are ongoing to include NoduMax in the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ MoFA lead subsidy program aiming at 25,000 soyabean farmers in 2018. For this there is an urgent need to have good quality seeds. Those are at present not in the right quantity available for the farmers in Ghana.

Frederick Schreurs, Chief Executive Officer - IITA-Business Incubation Platform (BIP), Ibadan, Nigeria