This study was undertaken to determine the impact of the Rural Financial Institution Building Program (RUFIN) on the productivity of women-owned farms and non-farm enterprises in Northern Nigeria. The study utilized primary data collected through a questionnaire administered to 390 beneficiaries and an equal number of non-beneficiaries selected through a multi-stage sampling procedure. The productivity of women-owned enterprises was determined using Total Factor Productivity (TFP), which was measured as a ratio of the total annual output of the enterprise to the product of capital input, labor input, and total material input. The propensity score matching approach was used to analyze data because of its aptness for overcoming selection bias in an intervention project like RUFIN. Four matching algorithms were tried, which include Nearest Neighbour Matching, Radius Matching, Epanechnikov Kernel Matching, and Stratification methods. Results showed the treatment (RUFIN) had a significant effect on the productivity of women-owned enterprises at 1% probability level, irrespective of the matching method. For the selected stratification matching method, the Average Treatment Effect on the Treated (ATT) was 1.673, indicating participation in RUFIN increases the enterprise productivity of a given beneficiary by 1.673. The study concludes that RUFIN had positive impacts on the productivity of beneficiaries. It is recommended that institutionalized development programs that mirror the design and implementation approach of Rural Financial Institution Building Program (RUFIN) should be promoted across national and sub-national governments of Nigeria as a means of scaling the productivity of rural entrepreneurs and harnessing other benefits that accompany rural financing.

Author Biography

Ayodele Abiodun Olaleye is an Agricultural Economist with industry experience. He has been involved in research, training, and consulting on agricultural value chain finance and development for over a decade. His research interests include food security, financial inclusion, productivity, poverty and rural finance, and gender bias. Ayodele is the author of Achieving Millennium Development Goals–Agriculture to the Rescue. He has also published other articles in reputable journals. Email id: ayoabiodunolaleye@gmail.com

Abigail John Jirgi is a Professor of Agricultural Economics with a focus on farm agricultural production and gender issues. Apart from her scholarly achievements, Jirgi has served at various administrative capacities, including occupying the office of Head of Department of Agricultural Economics and Farm Management at the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Nigeria, where she currently lectures. Jirgi has various publications in reputable journals to her credit. E-mail id: abigail.jirgi@futminna.edu.ng

Kpotun Mohammed Baba is a renowned Professor of Agricultural Economics with a specialization in Production Economics and Farm Management. His area of research interest includes gender issues, Economics of savanna tree crops, Irrigation Economics and Agricultural Sustainability. Prof. Baba has numerous publications to his credit in reputable journals. Apart from his primary affiliation with the Department of Agricultural Economics and Farm Management at the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Professor Baba is currently the Pro-Chancellor of Kwara State University, Malete, Nigeria. E-mail id: kpotunbaba@gmail.com

Usman Shabba Mohammed is an Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Farm Management at Federal University of Technology, Minna. His research interest is in the area of Agricultural Production Economics. He has various publications in international journals to his credit including “Profitability analysis of cowpea production in rural areas of Zaria Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Nigeria” and “Determinants of Arable Crop Productivity under the Goronyo Irrigation Project, North- West Nigeria.” Email id: usman.shaba@futminna.edu.ng