By ABDULLAHI GARBA –
As part of efforts to increase yield per ha, create wealth and income for farmers, the Kano State Agropastoral Project (KSADP), in conjunction with Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA), commenced on Saturday the distribution of farm inputs to farmers across the 44 Local Governments Areas of the state
Speaking at the event, the Country Director of Sasakawa Africa Association, Dr. Godwin Atser, explained that SAA as a technical partner to the KSADP project would continue to support the government’s efforts to enhance agricultural productivity and competitiveness through increased access to inputs, extension service delivery, value addition and agribusiness development.
He said the week-long exercise would enable the inputs to get to the beneficiaries promptly and give them ample time for other essential pre-season activities like land acquisition and preparation, adding that for crops to perform optimally, they must be planted at the right time using the correct regenerative agriculture practices and necessary inputs.
The Project Coordinator KSADP/SAA Comrade Abdulrasheed Hamisu Kofarmata said SAA was bridging the gap by addressing most of the challenges facing smallholder farmers in the state by strengthening agricultural extension services through the periodic distribution of improved high-yielding, disease and drought-resistant seed varieties, pre-and post-emergence herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides and training.
He stressed that for the forthcoming 2023 wet season, SAA/KSADP is establishing a total of 690 clusters of demonstration plots to showcase Good Agronomic Practices GAPs and 192 Community-Based Seed Multiplication plots across 44 LGAs of the state to serve as farmer learning platforms in local communities during on and off-farming seasons to serve as farmer learning platforms FLPs, to promote the adoption of new farming technologies and to increase crop productivity.
According to him, farm inputs worth over N100million including improved high-yielding, disease and drought-resistant seed varieties of upland and low land rice, maize, sorghum, millet, soybeans and groundnuts; various pre-and post-emergence herbicides, fungicides and pesticides, organic fertilisers for both maize and rice production to improve soil fertility for the optimum performance of target crops are being distributed to beneficiaries through the extension agents.
He reiterated that with the KSADP in its third year of implementation, SAA is steadily improving the food, nutrition and income security of smallholder farmers in the State.
The project coordinator acknowledged the fact that the SAA had tailored improved agricultural technologies and practices to match the needs of smallholder farmers in the state through its “co-innovation” concept that includes: Knowledge Creation, Knowledge Packaging and Knowledge Transfer and Adoption, which are being implemented with the participation of target farmers and value chain actors.
The State Program Coordinator, Mr Ibrahim Garba commended SAA for delivering the inputs ahead of the planting season and called on the farmers to use them efficiently.
He noted that the intervention by SAA helped Kano farmers to more than double yield of crops such as maize from 2.5 tons/ha to 7 tons/ha in the previous season.
In Kano state, around 70% of the population is involved in agriculture at a subsistent level. However, the agriculture sector faces a lot of bottlenecks including climate change, pests and diseases, low yield, and poor market access etc.
These challenges are being addressed by Kano State Government through the Five-year intervention program called Kano State Agropastoral Development Project, KSADP, with funding-base from Islamic Development Bank (ISDB) and Lives and Livelihood Funds. Sasakawa Africa Association, an international agricultural development organisation, is a technical partner implementing the crop component of the project, which focuses on improving the productivity, income and livelihoods of 450,000 smallholder farmers in 44 LGAs of the state in the areas of rice, maize, millet, sorghum, tomato, cabbage and onions value chains.
SAA/KSADP has therefore deployed its multi-pronged approach of Regenerative Agriculture (RA), Market Oriented Agriculture (MOA), and Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture (NSA) to foster agriculture-centered economic growth, contributing to the creation of a resilient and sustainable food system in the state by placing regenerative agriculture at the centre of its strategy to promote sustainable agricultural intensification