By; SANI ALIYU, Zaria
The Vice Chancellor Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, Professor Kabir Bala has said that the collaboration between the University,, Kaduna State Government’ and AGRA seeks to strengthen the capacity of gender groups to enable them adopt improved processing techniques as well as to facilitate access to acquisition of single processing equipment.
He stated this at the opening ceremony of AGRA / NAERLS/AGRA and Ministry of Local Government improved rice processing training for women groups in local government areas of Kaduna State.
Prof. Kabir Bala was represented by Professor Abdullahi Jibril Raddawa, Provost College of Medicine ABU, Zaria said that with the support from the Ministry of Local Government, five (5) women groups will each be given a complete set of simple processing equipment in addition to their capacity being improved .
According to him, agriculture is a key component of the Nigerian economy, contributing about 23% of the GDP and currently supporting the livelihooods of 70 per cent of the population and small farms account for up to 90 per cent of agricultural production in Nigeria.
In his welcome address, the Director National Agricultural Extension Research and Liason Services, Professor Emmanuel Ikani said that NAERLS is spcialized in training of women and youth groups in all agricultural aspects .
Prof. Ikani lauded Kaduna State Government’ through the Ministry for Local Government for training women in the state on improved rice processing and called for more collaboration with the state government .
In his remarks, the Principal Investigator, AGRA /NAERLS CBA project, Professor Christogonus Dauda said that agricultural production, processing and marketing is marginal mainly due to low imput use of small holder farmers .
He said Nigerian Public Service Extension is struggling to reach farmers due to the low numbers whereby, each extension worker is responsible for over 3,000 farmers, ill equipped to address all aspects of the major crops value chain due to poor training .
According to him, the overall goal of the project is to catalyse and sustain an inclusive agricultural transformation in Nigeria to increase income and improve food security by developing and implementing a community –based extension approach to increase crop productivity of maize, rice and soya beans.
Prof. Daudu said the training aims to put efficient simple technological packages in the hands of small holder farmers and processors for improved marketability.
He added that the project has mobilized strength, expertize and opportunities in Nigeria rice post-harvest section to promote best practices for packages, parboiling labelling other technologies .