Regional Managing Director, Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) has stated to have trained 5, 577,050 farmers on agricultural technology application to boost food production and reduce poverty.
Oluoch stated this during a three-day SAA/Sasakawa Global 2000 (SG 2000) Nigeria Annual National Stakeholders’ Review and Planning Workshop on Wednesday in Zaria.
He disclosed that the beneficiaries were trained since inception of the programme in 1992, adding that SAA works at the grassroots level with farmers to increase productivity, improve quality of feeding and reduce the amount of labour hours spent in the fields on daily basis.
Oluach noted that the programme began in March 1992 through collaboration with Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and relevant Federal and State Governments’ agencies to raise farmers’ productivity, value addition and create market for the produce.
He said the programmes goal to raise crop management skills of front line extension staff and smallholder farmers to increase crop production and processing.
According to him, the SAA/SG 2000 also trained 401 private service providers such as fabricators, technicians and operators in participating states, adding that 1, 045 farmer organizations were linked to markets and 29 agro processing centres were also established within the period under review.
Oluach noted that one of the key changes the SAA made was to merge the universities programmes with field level intervention programmes.
He said that the organisation was working with universities to administer or implement field level programmes through different approaches to enrich farmers in the region.
Also speaking, Prof. Sani Miko, Country Director, SAA/SG2000, said the workshop was aimed at getting feedback from previous year’s activity and implementation efforts from partners.
Miko said that the workshop would present SG 2000 activities for the year 2020 for better contribution from key stakeholders towards addressing perennial problems affecting smallholder farmers along the value chains.
He said the programme was observing series of technical and structural changes in order to be more focus and robust in its drive to serve smallholder farmers.
The Country Director noted that field extension and human resource development of SAA has been integrated since 2019, saying that the number of partners and universities also increased.
Miko said the SAA, with the support of the FMARD was implementing the programmes in 12 states in the six geopolitical zones of the country.
He added that SAA planned to deploy its extension model to target areas in the next five years for public and private institutions to scale up.
“We want to see the public institutions carrying out some of the successful models and scaling them out so that they can impact on the small scale holder farmers’ productivity.
“We also pay very serious attention to youth, women and people with disabilities in our drive in terms of planning and execution.
“We are also into nutrition sensitive agriculture and climate change and we will try to functionalize partnership,’’ Miko said.