The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has disclosed plans to build the capacity of 270,000 smallholder farmers in order to train them on best agriculture practices with a view to linking them to sources of market.
The Business Coordinator of the project, Izaak Ene made the disclosure at the opening of a 2-day workshop for maize, rice and soya beans farmers yesterday in Kaduna.
He said the project which is being funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to promote agricultural activities in Africa will train 81,000 farmers in 2018. According to him, “The project is targeting smallholder farmers in Kaduna and Niger state. For Kaduna, we are targeting three commodities namely maize, rice and soya beans. The program is to teach good agricultural practices right from accessing input, production and marketing activities.
“The three-year project is targeting about 270,000 farmers. For this year, we are targeting 81,000 farmers; the project has no facility for loans but is basically for training, capacitation and linkage to sources to market with a view to increasing production and market for the farmers.
“We will also teach them on group dynamics management of the groups formed during the workshop so that they can work together collectively when they want to access their input for market or during production, they can sell their products together.”
He added, “This project is a combination of different professional organizations including inputs companies, extension organizations and companies that will buy the produce from the farmers.”
He pointed out that the aim of the workshop is to uplift the livelihood of farmers by increasing their productivity from what they are getting now to something better. Director, Agricultural Services, Kaduna state Agricultural Development Agency (KADA), Ya’u Kasimu said, “What we want to achieve is for farmers to take agriculture as a business which will link them with commercial banks and other financial Institutions.”
He urged participants to take the training very seriously so that they can use what they have learnt to add value to their products.