AGRA/NAERLS Set To Strengthen Capacity Of Gender Groups On New Technology

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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 . 

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