You need to active Javascript on your
BusinessDay
Nigeria's leading finance and market intelligence news report.

OCP Africa, Syngenta Foundation collaborate to boost Nigeria’s tomato productivity

OCP Africa, a top producer, and exporter of phosphate-based fertilizers, and Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) have collaborated to boost tomato productivity in Africa’s most populous country.

Through the partnership initiative, smallholder farmers were trained on production techniques, how to create a viable and sustainable business model, and linked with markets to sell their produce.

The partnership which is in its second year has helped to address constraints that hamper increasing tomato yield per hectare and improving standardization of outputs.

Very specifically, the project is focused on the establishment of Greenhouses and Input Hubs across tomatoes farming locations for easy access to consistent and quality seedlings, access to modern agricultural technologies customized training, and guided practices to guarantee the uniform outcome of produce that will feed identified, commercial processors.

Read Also: Nigeria’s food prices at 13-yr high one year after COVID-19

Akintunde Akinwande, OCP Africa’s head of business development and digital projects disclosed this at the 2021 Onboarding and Training workshop held in Kano for the hub managers and extension agents also known as Agripromoters.

Akinwande said so far, 20 greenhouses have been established across major tomato production areas in Jigawa, Kano, Kaduna, Nasarawa, and Abuja, with over 20,000 farmers accessing quality seedlings and inputs as well as good agricultural practice training on modern production techniques as well as linkages to off-takers.

At the workshop, the newly recruited Agripromoters and Hub managers were trained on modern vegetable nursery establishment and management, good agronomy practices of horticulture, retail business and basic inventory management, and on the usage of digital work tools for data capturing and management.

Ten motorcycles and electronic tablets, as well as branded materials, were presented at the workshop to the Agripromoters to support their mobility and data capturing as they perform their Agricultural extension functions.

Akinwande said the two organisations entered the partnership to leverage their capacities and experience to address challenges that hamper the improvement and consistency in quality of farm yields and two years down the line, he is happy to say their objectives are gradually being achieved thus presenting proof of concept for future expansion to new areas.

Both organizations leveraged their flagship projects through the merging of OCP Africa’s Farm and Fortune Hub (FFH) model and SFSA’s Farmers Hub (FH) model.

Akinwande added that in two years the partnership has empowered 20 hub managers to raise over 6 million seedlings at the Greenhouses, with the hub managers earning revenues of over N30 million from the sales of seedlings and other inputs. This has also resulted in the creation of about 300 direct jobs.

Speaking also, Gabriel Isaiah, SFSA-Nigeria’s country program manager, and training coordinator said the project focuses on raising healthy seedlings to produce vegetables through innovative skills among others as the availability of good seeds and seedlings, quality fertilizer, crop protection and good nursery management are essential.

He implored the Hub Managers to pay keen attention because they are going to be ambassadors of the scheme wherever they go and this was why they were picked to be trained so that they will be able to train others.

Isaiah added that the success of the partnership in the last two years has motivated both organizations to explore opportunities to scale the reach to other parts of the country. The plan for the coming year, he said, is to extend the reach to South West states as well.

He also reiterated the mandate of both organizations to focus on gender and youth inclusion with a good number of the recruited hub managers and Agripromoters being young and vibrant women.

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.