By Sani Idris
Kaduna, Sept 16, 2020 Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), on Tuesday at a field visit to Taka, Kubau Local Government, Kaduna state, appealed to the state government to provide irrigation facilities to rural farmers.
Dr. Esther Ibrahim of AGRA, made the appeal during a field visit to assess crops yield in some selected farms in parts of the state.
Ibrahim said providing modern irrigation facilities to farmers would enhance dry season farming that would guarantee food security.
She said that AGRA is working with some selected state governments to transform the Agriculture sector to increase crop yields using a research based new fertilizer blend.
“Here we are, together with the Comissioner inspecting what AGRA is doing in the farm system level where we work with research institutes, NEARLS, the North West Agro Dealers Associations, feed companies among others to reach out to farmers.
“What we do in partnership with all these institutions is to achieve a food secured Nigeria and to see that farmers are able to feed and take care of their needs,” she said.
Ibrahim explained that AGRA, through a learning platform, engaged Community Based Facilitators (CBFs) who work with government extension agents to encourge teaching and learning and thereby close the extension worker-farmer ratio gap.
“Learning and teaching the new techniques would enable it spread and guide farmers to be able to get the quality inputs and knowledge they need for better yield.
“The farmers are also talking about dry season farming, the Comissioner will report what she has seen to the Governor and they will come in to support as the irrigation facilities would help them farm all year through,” Ibrahim said.
The Comissioner for Agriculture, Hajiya Halima Lawal who led the assessment team, commended the farmers for accepting AGRA’s new methods of production for higher crop yields.
She assured the farmers of government’s support and urged them to reciprocate the gesture by disseminating the new knowledge to other farmers.
Also speaking, Mr Victor Adejoh, the Country Director, Synergos Nigeria, said that the capacity building from AGRA was yielding positive outcomes.
“The good outcomes is evident that trust building works,” Adejoh said.
Kauna John, a Community Based Facilitator (CBF) at Taka, Kubau LG, said they used to grow rice on high land but now on low land which yields better.
“People are asking me to keep the seed after harvest for them to replant next year, the rice is so qualitative and easy to cultivate,” she said.
“We have gained a lot from this system, we are not going back to our old methods”, she said.
She thanked the Comissioner and AGRA for the initiative and the visit even as she urged them for more support to farmers to enhance their production.
Also, Mr Benjamin Williams, a farmer, said that when AGRA came with some of the initiatives to the community, he took it as joke.
“I started believing in the initiative when the rice I planted began to grow and yield rapidly and everybody began to envy it.
“We usually spray the rice seedlings but the one introduced to us by AGRA was planted in the ground, it is easy to cultivate and have much grains, this is the change we have been craving for”, Williams said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the team also visited Anchau and an Agro dealer at Hayin Mama and Barida Community.
Recalled that the Kaduna State Government and AGRA on Sept. 15, embarked on a three-day on-the-spot assessment of selected farms to evaluate the 2020 crop yields in the state.
The assessment is sequel to the application of AGRA funded new research based Fertiliser blend to improve crop yields in the state.