"The new SAA strategy of strengthening extension delivery to smallholder farmers with a value chain approach, from sourcing inputs to production, postharvest and processing, and market and credit access, is now moving forward in SAA’s main areas of operation in Nigeria."
Last year was not an easy year for agriculture. The rains came early across the whole country – with the highest amount of rainfall in July in all SAA’s participating states. In 2010, the highest amount of rain was recorded in August. As a result, floods occurred in many states, devastating farms and fish ponds. Climate change, pollution and deforestation helped to create an unsettling environment for Nigeria’s farmers.
SAA works in the Northern Guinea Savannah and the Sudan- Sahelian zones, cutting across six states (Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano and Zamfara). Visits were made by staff to farmers’ communities in order to assess the agricultural production systems and farmers’ needs prior to the start of the 2010 rainy season. A total of 1,700 farmers were contacted during this exercise. Three hundred and thirty-three Technology Option Plots (TOPs) were established (mainly for fertilizer and variety demonstrations), with 662 Women Assisted Demonstrations (WADs) and 2,200 Production Test Plots (PTPs) on maize, rice, sorghum, groundnut, millet, cowpea and sesame. There were significant differences between farmers using traditional practices and improved practices. Field days were conducted in the six states with attendance of around 6,400 participants.
In Jigawa state, a dry season program was established for improved vegetable production technologies to address the perennial problem of pest and disease during irrigation, in which a total of 46 Extension Agents (EAs) were trained in December. They, in turn, trained 100 farmers in tomato, pepper and wheat production. In 2011, 278 TOPs, 743 WADs and 2,790 PTPs are being established.
Agroprocessing needs were assessed in Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Kano, Jigawa and Zamfara, with 21 local government areas, 31 villages and 761 agroprocessors (APs) representing 32 groups, identified. A total of 475 processors were engaged, consisting of 460 women processors and 15 male farmers. Based on the outcome of the needs assessment, two training sessions on group formation/ dynamics and capacity building for fabricators were conducted. A total of 20 groups were represented with 147 APs trained. Also 32 groups were identified with a total of 641 members. The training of fabricators was carried out in Bayero University Kano (BUK) where SAA is in the process of establishing a base for research and development of AP machines. Six fabricators from Adamawa and Jigawa and the staff of BUK attended the training session. A maize sheller was put together during the training.
In 2011, AP groups are working to improve the quality of crops produced and reduce postharvest losses to the bare minimum. More simple equipment will be placed in the Postharvest Extension and Learning Platform (PHELPs) and service providers will help to source this equipment.
SG 2000 has worked with private sector agribusinesses over many years. In March 2010, a stakeholders’ meeting was held with 67 participants. Serious questions were raised about the ability of extension agents, from the public sector, to take on new challenges – and access to finance and inputs for enhanced production were discussed. Quality seed was the key issue, it was agreed, for effective extension intervention. The meeting ended with 13 private companies pledging to support SG 2000 in raising the level of extension delivery. Also last year, SG 2000 in Nigeria conducted training sessions for 13 farmers, 13 extension agents, three zonal coordinators and one state university on community seed multiplication. A total of 25.5mt of assorted improved seeds was produced through communitybased seed schemes in Kano, Jigawa and Zamfara states, totalling 18 ha.
Meanwhile, community-based seed producers were linked to three seed companies where 3.2 mt of associated seed have been sold. Training was also conducted with nine partner farmer groups from Kano, Jigawa and Bauchi and Adamawa states, on farmer business management.
SAA’s ME&L has partnered with Agricultural Development Projects (ADPs), research institutes, universities, farmers’ groups and associations, the private sector (seed and fertilizer companies), the Federal Office of Statistics, the Central Bank of Nigeria, States Agricultural Monitoring and Evaluation Units and other government record keeping offices. Theme 5 has provided a leadership role in training other thematic areas on log-frame development at country level. Theme 5 also developed a baseline survey plan (sampling techniques and tools design) for implementation in 2011. Two visits were made to Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano and Zamfara to facilitate collation of Theme 1 yield data and assure the quality of data collected.
SG 2000 Nigeria was able to advance the positive reaction of seven states (Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano and Zamfara) to a proposal for cost sharing in the implementation of SAA/SAFE activities for an initial period of five years.
Both Adamawa and Jigawa states pledged N30 million (US $200,000) each to SAA with Bauchi and Zamfara due to disburse their funds soon. Thus far, the following equipment has been purchased for Adamawa and Jigawa. A total of four sets of cassava processing machines, two sets of multi-crop threshers and a maize sheller, one motorised oil kneader, one motorized groundnut decorticator, four manual groundnut oil kneaders, three sets of rice parboiling kits, 200 pieces of hand maize shellers, two sets of rice mills (250kg/hr capacity), one rice mill of 1,100 kg/hr capacity and one wet grinder. Six enterprise centers have been established in Jigawa (three centers on rice and groundnuts) and Adamawa states (three centers for cassava, rice and groundnuts).
|Women Assisted Demonstration (WAD) women cowpea farmers from Jigawa State|
SG 2000 was awarded a sub-contract to work with 3,000 maize out-growers in Kaduna State. Pre-season training of trainers (TOT) on maize production technology, group management and record keeping was conducted for 150 lead farmers (103 men and 47 women), who trained 2,850 farmers in their communities. The major objective of this program was to link these producers to the Grand Cereals and Oil Mill Company based in Jos, Plateau State. Yield and sales surveys from 60 randomly selected farmers were conducted in November and January. From the sampled farmers, total land area was 81.15 hectares, the total yield obtained, 361.53 mt, with an average yield of 4.45t/ha. The individual farm size of the 60 sample farmers ranged from one hectare to 2.91 ha. The yield from farmers’ fields ranged from 2.43 to 6.44 t/ha. For 2011, the project has increased the participating farmers to 5,000. In addition, Chemonics, an international development consultancy, has indicated an interest in teaming up with SAA in the future activities of USAID-MARKETs in Nigeria.
SAA has also partnered with principal investigators, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and Wageningen University on N2FIXAFRICA, which has so far carried out 6,783 demonstrations, and is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). The objective is to improve soil fertility and farm productivity by using nitrogen fixing crops (legumes) such as soybean, cowpea and peanut, using rhizobia as inoculants. About 1,000 demonstration plots were established in Kano state. For 2011, the number of farmers has been increased to 6,783. Notore, Premier Seed, Maslaha Seed, Manoma Seed and Dizengoff companies sponsored field demonstrations (60 TOPs and 20 WADs) and provided 380kg of foundation seeds for community seed production activities.