“ICRSAT has tremendously impacted the lives and livelihood of the local farmers and women farmers and rural dwellers over 50 years in dryland areas of the world” Dr Hakeem said.
ICRISAT and Nigeria
ICRISAT’s activities in Nigeria started in 1976-1985 under the SAFGRAD/USAID project which resulted into the development and adoption of several sorghum, pearl millet and groundnut varieties. In 1988, ICRISAT set up a research station in Bagauda, Kano State, to pursue a research program focused on the improvement of sorghum varieties and hybrids to be used within the sorghum-based cropping systems. Two open pollinated sorghum varieties, ICSV400 and ICSV 111, and two sorghum hybrids, ICSH89002 NG and ICSH 89009 NG, were released and developed in collaboration with the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Zaria.
However, a period of fund uncertainty led to significant reduction of ICRISAT institutional presence in Nigeria between 2000 and 2007. By 2008, through effort by Professor Abubakar, then Executive Secretary, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) and Dr. William D Dar, the then Director General of ICRISAT, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate in the development and implementation of joint research programs in Nigeria has led to resurgence of ICRISAT in Nigeria. Since then, over five Sorghum, seven Groundnut and three Pearl millet varieties were released in Nigeria along with many publications (manuals, guides, pamphlets and policy documents).
According to Dr. Hakeem Ajeigbe, there are over 12 ongoing collaborative research projects between ICRISAT and various International Organizations, Nigerian Research Institutes, Universities, State Agricultural Development Programs, Farmers’ Associations, Non-Government Organizations and Private Sector.
“Some of these projects are regional in scope and provide mutual learning, information and knowledge sharing opportunities to all participating countries” he said.
Some of ICRISAT’s recent high impact includes:
- Agro-pastoral Development project (KSADP). This ongoing project covers the whole 44 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Kano with improved varieties of sorghum, millet, maize, rice, groundnut, cowpea and soybean as well as associated Good Agronomic Pratices (GAP). We have started an annual Agricultural seed and Input fairs and we will soon introduce technologies of bio-reclamation of degraded lands.
- Partnerships and collaboration with private sectors such as Dala foods, Honeywell Flour Mills and Northern Nigeria Flour Mills Plc, NBL have led to the introduction of semi-processed sorghum and millet products in super markets and the reintroduction of improved varieties of sorghum to the southern Guinea savanna and derived savanna zones of Nigeria.
- Through the ATASP-1 project, ICRISAT has partnered with State Ministry of Educations to develop the interest of many youth in modern farming. A pilot program with volunteer students from 11 Secondary Schools from 5 states were engaged with ICRISAT in activities along the agricultural value chain of targets crops production and processing for nutrition and incomes generation.
- Through the FMARD ATA, a dry season groundnut production for seed, grain, and for fodder was introduced.
In his inaugural speech, ICRISAT’s Country Representative in Nigeria thanked the Kano State Government administration which he said has always been supportive of the institute activities. He also thanked the Federal Government of Nigeria which also been outstanding in its support right from the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) in which ICRISAT led the implementation of the Sorghum and Groundnut value chains as part of the Agricultural Transformation Support Project Phase-1 (ATASP-1) .
“ICRISAT is grateful for the support of the Honorable Ministers from Dr Akinwumi Adesina, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Alh Sabo Nanono and Dr Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar as well as the successive Permanent Secretaries and Directors in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the desk officers and members of the sorghum and Groundnut Value chains, the Chairman, Honorable Munnir Babba Dan Agundi, House committee on Agricultural Colleges and Research Institute, the Royal fathers of Bunun Bichi, the District Head of Minjibir LGA, Kano State, and Sarkin Ari and the District Head of Ningi. We are also thankful to the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria and to our the Ahmadu Bello, University Zaria and the Director Centre for Dryland Agriculture, Bayero University Kano.”
“ICRISAT depends on the goodwill of National and International partners and donors to be able to impact on the small holder farmers. We seek the continuous support of all, more now than ever because the challenges are becoming enormous especially with the issue of climate change along with the growing human and livestock population. We seek continuity in the partnership between IAR and ICRISAT and of our hard-working men and women farmers” concluded Dr Ajeigbe
Well-wishers and partners
Mrs Hajia Salimatou Garba, CEO WOFAN: “WOFAN has been working side by side with ICRISAT. We’ve done lot of research activities together. They consider lot of areas that support the women. Various varieties of SAMNUT were tested for their oil content and we were one of those partners that popularized SAMNUT 24. We have worked together in various WOFAN program. We really appreciate working with ICRISAT which is one of the most recognized institution. Moreover, they have married the working relationship between us KNARDA, CDA and many other relevant institutions.”
Mr Clement Adebija, Representative, IAR, Kano: “ICRISAT, has been good a partner over the years. The institute has partnered in various ways. We call ICRISAT’s and stakeholders to invest more in research and development for new technology such as use of biotechnology to improve farmers productivity. At last we wish ICRISAT the very best and pray for more collaborators in Nigeria.”
Dr Zakari Turaki Representative, LCRI: “My institute which is in charge of research on millet, wheat and barley has been in a long partnership with ICRISAT. Our collaboration with ICRISAT has led to the release of so many millet varieties, including SOSAT in 2020, SUPER SOSAT, Jarani and many others. There are four research institutes in Nigeria and ICRISAT and IITA remain the two giants which have done exploit in research. I wish ICRISAT on its 50th anniversary more successes. As you grow older, may you grow in experience and wisdom. We are urging you to lend more support to our famers as well.”
Mr El. Hadj Nura Madugu Representative, Dala Foods Nigeria Ltd: “ICRISAT is among the organization that draw out attention to the industrial processing of more of millet and groundnut. Wishing you all the best.”
Mr Alh Ibrahim Garba, State project Coordinator, Kano State Agro-pastoral Development Project: “Under the Kano agro-pastoral project, we set aside over 20 million dollars for crop crops assets. It is just a small amount set aside to ICRISAT and IITA. With this, they were able to deliver a technical backstopping to KANRDA and Sasakawa. All the technical backstopping is being carried out with the help of ICRISAT and IITA. Now, there is no single village in Kano state where you can’t find improved varieties. The project is looking at agriculture under full value chain development, including the technical know-how and back stopping to train our rural women along to the different value chain using various recipes which is now supporting nutrition and revenues generation. A technical extension guide was provided about best agriculture; it being used to trained our extensions agents good agronomic practices . 50 is good mature year.”