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Agrobusiness firms deepen partnership for improved tomato value chain in Kano

By Murtala Adewale, Kano
03 November 2021   |   2:37 am
Determined to complement Federal Government sustainable policies on food security, an agrobusiness groups are partnering to build technical and human resource capacity

Tomatoes. Photo: HEALTHLINES

Determined to complement Federal Government sustainable policies on food security, an agrobusiness groups are partnering to build technical and human resource capacity in the area of tomato value chain in the northern part of the country.

Besides, the workshop which drew about 30 participants from across the northern part of the country is expected to create a viable and sustainable business model and linkages around the value chain.

The partnership, which is in its second year, has helped to reduce constraints that hamper the improvement in yields of tomato farmers in Nigeria’s agricultural sector and improve agricultural productivity and standardisation of outputs.

The partners, OCP Africa, a global leading company in the production and exportation of phosphate-based fertilisers and Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA), anchor a greenhouse and input hubs, a training facility where farmers are provided with resuscitate knowledge as well as quality farm input to produce tomatoes in large quantity.

Addressing journalists at the opening of capacity building in Kano, OCP Africa’s Head of Business Development and Digital Projects, Akintunde Akinwande, disclosed the 2021 Onboarding and Training workshop was designed for the hub managers and extension agents also known as agripromoters.

Akinwande said so far, 20 greenhouses have been established across major Tomato production areas in Jigawa, Kano, Kaduna, Nasarawa and Abuja, with over 20,000 farmers accessing quality seedlings and inputs as well as good agricultural practice training on modern production techniques and linkages to offtake markets and processors.

He said the newly recruited agripromoters and hub managers were trained on modern vegetable nursery establishment and management, good agronomy practices of horticulture, retail business and basic inventory management and on the usage of digital work tools for data capturing and management.

The OCP head disclosed that after the workshop, 10 motorcycles and electronic tablets, as well as branded materials, would be presented to the agripromoters to support their mobility and data capturing as they perform their Agricultural extension functions.

Akinwande said the two organisations entered the partnership to leverage their capacities and experience to address challenges that hamper the improvement and consistency in quality of farm yields and two years down the line, he is happy to say their objectives are gradually being achieved thus presenting proof of concept for future expansion to new areas.

“OCP Africa’s FFH is an all-inclusive last mile distribution solution that aims to address the challenges of farm inputs availability and accessibility by bringing together all basic farm inputs, training and extension services needed to ensure the perennial increase of farmers’ yield and revenue under one physical roof close to smallholder farmers in rural communities.

“While SFSA developed the Farmer Hub model which runs as an independent business entity often overseen by a young Agripreneur, and it provides smallholder farmers with access to quality inputs, mechanization services, knowledge, and markets,” Akinwande noted.

He further added that in two years the partnership has empowered 20 hub managers to raise over six million seedlings at the Greenhouses, with the hub managers earning revenues of over N30 million from the sales of seedlings and other inputs. Akinwande said the initiative has also resulted in the creation of about 300 direct Jobs.

SFSA-Nigeria’s Country Programme Manager and Training Coordinator, Gabriel Isaiah, said the project focuses on raising healthy seedlings to produce vegetables through innovative skills among others as the availability of good seeds and seedlings, quality fertilizer, crop protection and good nursery management are essential.

He implored the hub managers to pay keen attention because they are going to be ambassadors of the scheme wherever they go and this was why they were picked to be trained so that they will be able to train others.

Isaiah added that the successes of the partnership in the last two years have motivated both organisations to explore opportunities to scale the reach to other parts of the country. The plan for the coming year, he said, is to extend the reach to South West states as well.

He also reiterated the mandate of both organisations to focus on gender and youth inclusion with a good number of the recruited hub managers and agripromoters being young and vibrant women.

Speaking at the event, the Hub Manager in Makoda Kano, Musa Usman, appreciated OCP Africa/ SFSA for the initiative, saying he is ready to effectively put the greenhouse given to him to good and profitable use.