In Kano state, Northwest Nigeria, agricultural extension service remains a key factor for agricultural development and improvement of rural livelihoods. This is fundamental taking into account the fact that agriculture is the backbone of the state’s economy, with 70 percent of the state’s population engaged directly or indirectly in agricultural production.
Despite this scenario, many smallholder farmers in the State lack access to extension services – information on best practices, input access, market and skills, which are intended to help them to improve their living standards.
To address this and other challenges facing the agricultural sector, Kano state Agro-Pastoral Development Project, KSADP, financed by the Islamic Development Bank and the Lives and Livelihood Funds, signed an agreement with Sasakawa Africa Association, to impact 450, 000 small holder farmers in Kano.
A critical component of the KSADP/SAA intervention is the design and execution of value chain extension training for extension workers and famer facilitators in the state.
In 2021 under the dry season intervention 112, 500 farmers were targeted to benefit for the first year, across 20 local government areas, instead the number of beneficiaries shot to 114, 719, following due diligence, resilience and resourceful planning.
Mallam Mutari Garba, 42 year old rice seed multiplication farmer from Tokin community of Warawa LGA of Kano State, who has been his business for close to 25 years. He is one of the 45,000 farmers networked, trained and supported with inputs to manage and showcased improved rice seed multiplication technology by KSADP – crop value chain development component under Sasakawa in the 2021 dry season intervention, testifies.
Mutari posing with the input support he received
“Before, I used to harvest a maximum of 50 bags (3.7 metric tons) of paddy rice from the same one hectare of land, but now with the production technology and quality inputs I received during last dry season, I harvested 102 bags (7.7 metric tons) of Faro 44 rice from one hectare of land”.
“I gave out 5 bags of 75kg each to farmers in the community as Zakkat for them to use the certified seed in their respective farms, 12 bags for my family consumption and sold out 85 bags to the seed company at N16,500 each totalling N1, 402,500 (One Million Four Hundred and Two Thousand Five Hundred Naira Only)”.
“With the proceeds of that bumper harvest, I now thinking of starting a shop in my community for selling fertilizer and chemicals, while expanding my rice seed multiplication to about two hectares this wet season. I have adequate reason to appreciate the IsDB, LLF, KSADP and Sasakawa”.
Mutari in his rice demo plot
This position was corroborated by Isah Umar of Imawa, Kura local government area, another demo host farmer, who said they have been cultivating rice for decades in his community with archaic knowledge of farming, spending lot of money to buy inputs like fertilizers and hiring more labor, on the assumption that doing could help him achieve maximum yield.
“Since KSADP/SAA intervention came to his community our yield has improved. It is a miracle that you plant one stand of rice and you get more than forty stands, the line transplanting though looks tedious but it helps them to manage space and save wasted fertilizers that we have been using over the years before this intervention”.
Isah and showing samples of rice to officials at his demo plot
Before the intervention in 2021, Isah and other farmers in his community usually harvest 30 to 40 bags of paddy rice per Ha after spending much in fertilizer application and engaging many labourers, stressing that from the output of his farm, he expects to realize 60 to 100 bags of paddy rice per Ha with minimal application of inputs.
Basically, each farmer like Mutari and Isah were trained on site and seed selection, nursery establishment, planting spacing and density, transplanting, fertilizer application, weeding, pest and disease management), harvest and post-harvest handling, storage management, business skills and enterprise management, even as they received support of improved seeds and fertilizer.
But the bottom-line is that the beneficiaries are now fully knowledgeable and early adopters among them have already recorded increased yield from their production in the same land they previously cultivated with lower yields.
Ameen K. Yassar
Communication Specialist, KSADP