The Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) launched 13 Farmers’ Hubs to service 13,000 sorghum and cowpea farmers in Kano and Jigawa States. The initiative was in response to survey findings on low farm yields attributed to difficult access to quality seeds, inputs and adulterated agro-chemicals (including adulterated fertilizers) in Northern Nigeria.
The hubs are an integral component of the operational strategy of SFSA in Nigeria to boost crop productivity while facilitating linkages with different markets. At the inaugural event that took place in Kano city, the Country Program Manager of SFSA-Nigeria, Mr Isaiah Gabriel, said that this initiative is part of the implementation of the Accelerated Varietal Improvement and Seed Delivery of Legumes and Cereals in Africa (AVISA) Project in Nigeria.
Given the long distances many farmers have to travel to find quality input supply stores and markets, the hubs will also serve as sales points for farm produce, facilitate access to weather information and provide hands-on training and link AVISA partners in Nigeria to extension services of NGOs and the Agricultural Development Programmes (ADPs). The decision to construct the hubs was based on findings from many adoption and value chain studies jointly carried out by ICRISAT and national partners in Northern Nigeria.
Mr Gabriel said that managers have been screened and agreed upon with farmers to ensure the effective functioning of the hubs. He cited the example of the hub manager of Bichi who had a turnover of 5 million Naira ($13,089) within two months of operation and announced a ‘support fund’ from SFSA, which is available to Hub Managers of the targeted Local Government Areas of Kano and Jigawa States. SFSA will continue to provide technical back-stopping and mobilize same from national and international research institutes such as the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and ICRISAT.
A total of 45 participants attended the launch, including Dr Hakeem Ajeigbe, Country Representative of ICRISAT, Seeds Systems Champions of Primary Objectives 4 (PO4) Professor Daniel Aba of IAR, Professor Lucky Omoigui of IITA, Dr Michael B Vabi, Socio-economist/M&E Scientist of the AVISA Project, representatives of three private seed companies based in Nigeria and the 13 Hub Managers and farmers.