- Farmers participating in a seven million Canadian-dollar supported project in northern Nigerian have seen their incomes raised by about 81 percent with the improvements in agricultural yield, according to International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
Government officials and farmers say the project has helped farmers to increase agricultural productivity and build capacities of farmers’ associations.
“This is commendable,” said Borno State Governor, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff at a conference that is ended today in Borno State.
The Canadian International Development Agency-sponsored project which began in 2004 is implemented by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture under the Promoting Sustainable Agriculture in Borno State (PROSAB) - a state where majority of the population belong to Islamic faith where women-men interaction in public domain as well as development projects are restricted by cultural values.
Researchers from IITA and partners from the University of Maiduguri, Borno State Agricultural Development introduced improved crop varieties, trained farmers on improved agronomic practices and above all promoted women participation in agricultural development. Consequently, women have seen more incomes in their wallets, improved access to farm inputs with many of them involved in value addition such as soybean processing.
“The programme has helped us in the area of freely interacting with our male counterparts in development projects. We are no more ashamed,” said Ruth Dasika Mshelia, a mother of five children.
The Governor who was represented by his deputy, Adamu Dibal said government will upscale the project to reduce poverty in the state just as he called on the state’s Agricultural Development Programme to educate farmers on best agricultural practices. He also welcomed the participation of women in the programme.
Dr Tegbaru Amare, IITA-PROSAB Manager, also said the programme has improved the nutrition of farmers especially children.
“Farmers in the project area who adopted improved technologies and management practices experienced increased food availability and livelihood. Considerable progress has also been made in addressing the problems of declining soil fertility and Striga - a parasitic weed that lowers yield of most legumes and cereals,” he said.
Key areas of interventions by the project include increasing sustainable agricultural productivity of male and female farmers, improving access of farmers to agricultural input and output markets, contributing to an improved policy environment for sustainable management of crops and livestock and strengthening project partners for the implementation of activities.
Ako Amadi, of the Canadian International Development Agency, said the success of the project signposts more projects for not only Nigeria but the West African region.
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