Gombe Farmers receive training on climate smart agriculture

Rebecca Mu'azu, Gombe

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Stakeholders for the 2019 cropping season farm demonstrations in the ten pilot communities in Gombe state, Northern Nigeria have been trained on climate smart agriculture.

The participants, who are expected to practice the training in their communities, were shown how to adjust to the realities in the change of rain patterns.

The training was particularly for the Extension Workers to know what they are to do in the field, with the guidelines and the deliverables they are to keep in the fields for the demonstrations.

Over the years, food production in most parts of Africa has gone down, mostly due to the changes in weather, because places that usually see heavy rainfall for a long period of time now fall short of it.

Research institutes have been trying over the years to develop climate resistance crops to guard against food insecurity.

One of the interventions in place in Northern Nigeria is the one by the United Nation Development Programme, UNDP and the Global Environment Facility, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The programme is on the implementation of landscape management to enhance food security in seven states in the savannah zone of Northern Nigeria for 5 years.

Ten communities are picked in two local government areas of each state for the project, where demonstration farms will be set up to teach enhanced long-term sustainability and resilience of food production systems.

In Gombe State, the Desk Officer of the project, Mr. Maina Jonathan, said the ten communities had so far formed Cooperative Societies and extension workers trained to know their roles in the field.

“The Demonstration farms will be conducted as soon as we finish this day’s training. We have already gotten approval from the UNDP to engage the consultant to the field. So, by Tuesday next week, we will be sharing the inputs in all the ten communities. There is the need to bring all the stakeholders together who will perform this year’s crop demonstrations in the various communities, so that we know ourselves and our roles,” Mr. Jonathan said.

One of the Project Consultants, Mr. Peter Madaki took the participants through the requirement, and regulations to be observed in the field.

“All these plots will have their different lands for demonstration. For example, you cannot grow rice on sandy soils, you will grow within where the Fadamas are, so that you know where there will be much retention of water. You cannot grow groundnuts black cotton soil or we call it barter soils, because they are not going to do. Even if they do, how are you going to uproot it? So, we advise our extension agents to adhere strictly to their plant requirement of all their crops, so that at the end of the day, we will achieve our goal,” Mr. Madaki said.

Mr. Haziel Kevin, one of the community extension workers, said some of the challenges they faced in executing the project was in land acquisition and the difficult terrains in the selected communities.

He however said that the training had provided them with solutions.

“Some of the sites that our farmers have identified are far away, they are not motorable. Some of the farms are not a flat land. They are stony areas, whereby we find it difficult to make the required demonstration methods, because of the stony areas. We are able to find a solution, that where there are stones, we can add 15% of the farm size. To fill the gap where the stones are occupying,” Mr. Kevin explained.

For Dr. Ayuba Mohammed Musa, the Chief Lecturer with the Department of Agriculture, Federal College of Technology, in the state, the training showed the stakeholders the new innovations adopted to mitigate the present realities of climate change.

“So, in the circumstance, do we say that because the situation is no longer the same? The answer is absolutely no. So, we in the agricultural sector have to now go and sit down and begin to look at how do we survive under these phenomena that has happened, the Climate Change? So, that was why the concept of Climate Smart Agriculture was conceived and muted out. And the whole essence of Climate Smart Agriculture is trying to produce food, even in the circumstance of Global Warming, so that food can be on the table of everybody,” Dr. Musa said.

He also encouraged the farmers to cultivate organic manure using refuse from their environment, animal dong and bird droppings, which will decay and turned into organic manure and still be useful for three to four years.

Some of the new trend in mitigating the effects of climate change, according to Dr. Musa was changing the seeds planted, so that it could grow using the available quantity of water in an area.

He said organic manure could retain moisture for about three days after rains fall on it, unlike the chemical fertiliser, which contaminates and changes the structure of the soil, thereby causing erosions.

“If a farmer is farm with organic manure, for the next four years he doesn’t have the need for any fertilizer. The fertilizer will be there on the farm, for the next four years the famer will continue to enjoy the fertilizer, because they are slow release fertilizers. So, each time you come after the first year, you plant your crops, still they will grow, because the nutrients are there and the structure of the soil will also improve. You will not see such land prone to erosion, because the organic material is a binding material. It binds the soil together, it keeps them together. It does not allow the soil loose for it to be washed away,” Dr. Musa added.

Peace PIAK