Tetra Tech worked to improve quality of life for poor residents in Nigeria by improving market linkages and strengthening small businesses and farms.

The Growth and Employment in States 4 (GEMS4) program, funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), aimed to improve the livelihoods of the poor and women in Nigeria’s wholesale and retail sector. Historic inefficiencies within Nigeria’s distribution chain created lower prices for producers, lower wages for employers, lower profits for businesses, and a higher cost of living for consumers. GEMS4 worked to address underlying weaknesses in the system while promoting pro-poor growth in the sector. The five-and-a-half-year program was implemented in rural and urban areas across all states of Nigeria, with particular focus in the four states of Kano, Kaduna, Lagos, and the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja).

“In the two years I have embraced Good Handling Practices in my business, there has been a lot of positive difference in my life because my profit margins have increased.”

Theresa Etsekhune, a tomato retailer in Sabon Gari, Zaria, Kaduna State

As program manager, Tetra Tech worked with traders, farmers, business representatives, and legislators to improve linkages in specific markets using the Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) approach. Our interventions introduced key innovations to help increase incomes, create jobs, and strengthen the ability of smaller farmers and traders to develop sustainable businesses that enhance their local economies and livelihoods.

The GEMS4 program focused on building the economy of Nigeria’s agricultural sector. Tetra Tech worked with private sector agricultural support service providers, Green Sahel Agro Services and Babban Gona, to introduce agribusiness support services for rice farmers in Kano and Jigawa states. We used a support service model to facilitate linkages between farmers and exporters to help bring more products to market. This model significantly improved farmers’ coordination and their access to inputs, postharvest services, and premium markets. By September 2017 more than 21,000 rice farmers increased their incomes through sales of rice paddy to commercial mills, and thousands more had registered with the agro-support service providers.

We also worked with the Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Dealers Association of Nigeria (FFVDAN) and the Agriculture Development Projects (ADP) of Kano, Kaduna, and Lagos states to train master trainers on Good Handling Practices (GHP) for perishable produce. This activity increased the incomes of more than 50,000 people.

On a larger scale, we focused on improving the supply chains, market conditions, and negotiation power for micro-retailers by introducing wholesale buyers’ groups and buyers’ clubs. These collectives allow the micro-retailers to secure supplies at cheaper prices and achieve a greater profit. More than 106,000 micro-retailers benefited from increased incomes.

We also introduced new business models for recycled waste aggregation and community waste collection, raising awareness of employment and service opportunities available in the waste sector and facilitating links between aggregators and off-takers. This work created more than 1,000 sustainable jobs, with further expansion expected.

As a result of GEMS4 interventions, more than half a million people in Nigeria increased their incomes—30,000 more than the program’s original target. Of those who benefitted, 57 percent were women. The program also created more than 12,700 full-time jobs, exceeding the target by nearly 3,000.

View a video on how we are strengthening markets to improve income of the poor.


  • DFID awarded GEMS4 an A+ in its 2017 Annual Review, recognizing the transformative work Tetra Tech carried out on the program in 2016-2017
  • GEMS4 was nominated for a 2018 British Expertise International Award, as Outstanding International Development Project (non-infrastructure). The awards recognize outstanding international achievements by companies in the UK professional services sector