Dutch companies launch hybrid vegetable seeds for Kano farmers
A consortium of Dutch seed companies has launched the ‘Seeds for Change’ (S4C) program in Kano State.
The initiative, launched in collaboration with the Dutch government, was aimed at assisting farmers by injecting improved inputs to contribute to food security in the area.
A member of the Netherlands-African Business Council (NABC is the coordinator of the S4C project), Mr. Mackenzie Masaki explained that there are lots of opportunities to improve the quality and volume of crops grown in the Kano area.
He said: “Currently most farmers in the state use farmer saved seeds and open pollinated seeds for planting. However, there is a business case for switching from low quality farmer saved seeds to buying better quality seeds when one knows how to grow vegetables with these seeds.
“Therefore, the S4C program will promote the use of biological crop protection and hybrid vegetable seeds to improve yields and provide training on cultivation techniques for five vegetable crops like tomato, watermelon, onion, hot and sweet pepper and cabbage.”
In order to convince farmers who have been used to the old methods, Masaki said: “We have selected two ‘trial-farms,’ where well-established farmers are going to run trials with the hybrid seeds to ensure we select and introduce the right varieties suitable not only to the climate and growing conditions in the North but also for the market. Parallel to this, we will work with a multiple demonstration farms that will to a large extent mimic local farmer growing conditions and be utilized as centers of excellence to train farmers on how best to manage hybrid seeds.
“The demonstration farms will then in turn be linked to model farmers, local farmers with good standing in the society for others to see that it’s possible. We do not only focus on bringing in more seeds, since for certain crops a lot of quality improvement by way of training is possible even without the need of bringing in hybrid-seeds,” explained Mr. Masaki.
He stressed that to enable the farmers market their produce, he said: “we intend to compliment knowledge and capacity building at farm level with access to markets by working with established traders and retailers.”
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