• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Group trains 59,000 smallholder farmers, 2,000 agro-entrepreneurs on vegetable production

Cross River to boost revenue from agriculture, holds value-chain summit

For an aggressively improved agricultural practice and food production, over 59,000 smallholder farmers as well as 2,000 agro-entrepreneurs in Nigeria have been trained on innovative ways of farming, especially on the production, distribution and marketing of vegetables.

BusinessDay reports that the agriculture-based training programme is funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands in Nigeria and implemented by a consortium, including the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer (EWS-KT), Wageningen University & Research (WUR), and KIT Institute (KIT).

Speaking at a two-day workshop held recently in Abeokuta, Ogun State Capital, Mohammed Idris, HortiNigeria Programme’s Director, stated that the Dutch-funded programme is aimed at increasing productivity and income of 60,000 smallholder farmers in Kaduna and Kano as well as pilot innovation with 2,000 entrepreneurial farmers in Ogun and Oyo States.

While explaining that the programme targets 40% women and 50% youth population up to the end of 2025, Idris added that the trainings on good agronomic practices provided to farmers had yielded an increase in production by 92% in various vegetable crops, which the programme works on.

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Idris, who was represented by Abdullahi Umar, further explained that since the inception of the programme other initiatives facilitated included access to finance for MSMEs, improving sector coordination and business linkages.

He said, “Since November 2021, HortiNigeria has launched several initiatives across ten value chains within the horticulture sector: cabbage, cucumber, okra, onions, pepper, sweetcorn, tomatoes, and watermelon”.

“As HortiNigeria moves into its last year of implementation in 2025, the program is set to expand its reach and continue its vital work in enhancing the capabilities of smallholder farmers, agro-entrepreneurs, financial institutions and other actors within the horticulture sector”.

Idris also maintained that “the progress we have made in the past years shows the commitment of our consortium partners and the resilience of various commodity value chain players.”

Meanwhile, as part of the efforts to pilot the innovations, HortiNigeria is collaborating various business champions such as Soilless farm lab on biogas, which promotes waste to wealth, with a launch of a cold storage facility at the Soilless farm lab.

Farmers and other Value Chain actors during the learning workshop were also exposed to different sections of the Soilless fam lab at Awowo farm settlement to encourage them in innovative farming.

HortiNigeria, during its visit to Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Farm hubs, showcased the solar irrigation pump and Best practices introduced promoting Eco-Efficient solutions.

Speaking during tours of Awowo and FUNAAB, a beneficiary from Ogun, Adetola Taiwo, appreciated HortiNigeria for its kind gesture and support to women and youth farmers.

She added that they had been exposed to best agro practices, thereby increasing their use of innovation and productivity.

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Omolola Balogun, also s beneficiary from Oyo State, said HortiNigeria had supported them in building capacity and assisted them with input technology, making it easier for farmers to farm all year round.

Our Correspondent reports that, HortiNigeria invites all stakeholders, including government officials, potential donors, and members of the press, to join in supporting and publicizing their efforts, ensuring a sustainable future for Nigeria’s horticulture sector.