The Lead Consultant of the project and Executive Director of Women farmers Advancement Network, WOFAN, Hajia Salamatu Garba said the training was to equip the extension workers with skills, to enable them to provide sustainable agriculture, using environment friendly methods. WOFAN is the organisation handling the second component of the project.
Hajia Garba statedb that participants were expected to further go back and step down the training to about 5,000 farmers’ group to enhance maize and groundnuts productions in each of the states.
“So, we are equipping them with skills that will enable them to provide sustainable agriculture, using environment friendly methods, so that they can further go back and step down to about 5,000 farmers’ group in each of the states. We took rice and groundnuts production and we looked at climate smart techniques, which means we should plant according to how out climate is changing. And we are looking at areas where we will choose the correct seed, the good practices like Aflatoxin prevention. Most of the groundnuts coming from sub-Saharan Africa you find out that it is high in Aflatoxin and therefore it is suitable for the global market,” Hajia Salamatu explained.
The essence of the training was to ensure that extension workers and representatives of small holder farmers at the grassroots of implementing communities learn about the changes in the climate and how to choose the correct seed and control other challenges faced due to the changing climate.
Hajia Salamatu said the participants were introduced to the best way to tackle Aflatoxin infection on groundnuts and maize.
“We are now training farmers to combine good agricultural practices and biological control, which is the application of Aflasafe. So, Aflasafe is a product that has been designed over 20 years to help in combating the issue of Aflatoxin on our farms,”she said.
Hajia Salamatu said the participants were taught how to grow rice both in dry and rainy seasons, as well as in upland or lowland, and how to handle by flood or draught.
They were taught how to use the treadle pump, which doesn’t use petrol, diesel of even solar, in either draught or flood situation, and how to reduce carbon emission.
“And for rice, we are trying to let them know that you can grow rice both dry and rainy season, you can do upland or lowland and if you are confronted by flood, you know what to do, if there is shock of shortage of rainfall after a long period of time, we are telling them what to do,”Hajia Salamatu said.
The overall aim of the project is to reduce youths moving from villages to urban areas, and how to use rice and groundnuts to generate more money, to move the peasant farmers to big agric businessmen.
Some of the participants say they have a lot to take back to their communities.
Miss Alice Doke, from Adamawa said;“I have learnt a lot about Good Agricultural Practice, I learnt about maize, rice and groundnuts planting, about nutrition and how to apply Aflasafe in our farm. So, I am taking with me all that I have learned from here to the farmers in my community and also for them to apply it, so that it will be useful to them in their communities, as well.
Adamu Musa, who is the Head of the Agric Department in Balanga Local Government Area of Gombe State, he gained a lot of knowledge and hoped to pass it down to the farmers at the grassroots.
“I will make sure that I step it down to my people. We learned about rice and groundnut production and some aspect of nutrition. The aim of coming here is to acquire knowledge and step it down to our communities. I feel so excited about the treadle pumps, because of its advantages, no fuel, so I am very much impressed and I will make sure that our people secure this treadle pump, so that we boost our agricultural production,”Malam Musa said.
To sustain the training, participants drew their plan in the short, midterm and long time showing the people targeted, either male or female and the number expected of jobs to be created.
The project has already established demo centres and prepared kick-off seed to be used by the farmers to continue to produce.