Sorghum farmers in Nigeria and large commercial buyers are coming together for improving the supply of quality seeds to farmers and assuring them a ready market for grains.
A ‘Sorghum Innovation Platform’ meeting was held recently so that stakeholders could interact and find common grounds for addressing the challenges hindering growth, as well as discuss measures to close the demand-supply gap.
During the event, farmers and other stakeholders who benefitted from seed distributed by the Honeywell Group gave feedback and discussed the challenges encountered. Speaking about the benefits of the seeds Mr Muhammad Abdulsalam, a sorghum farmer described varieties CSR-01 and SK-5912 as “very good” as the 1,500 hectares planted in Ningi by farmers’ groups are doing well. “We have not recorded any pest and disease outbreak,” he added.
Mr Abdulsalam, based in Ningi, Bauchi state, has been farming sorghum for 20 years.
“The new varieties yield more. You get 3 tons per ha as against the local variety which gives you between 1 and 1.5 tons.” Furthermore, Mr Abdulsalam said, “It takes just 100 to 110 days for the new variety to get to maturity for harvest, and now that we have large-scale commercial buyer we will be able to invest in inputs for higher yields.”
“With this system whereby Honeywell Group is ready to buy these two varieties even before you plant, there is a ready market and farmers will turn away from subsistence farming as farmers also need to make money from their farming activities,” he concluded.
“Now that we have big companies like Honeywell, we will make big sales in sorghum seed,” said Mr Lawan Gwadabe, Managing Director, Seed Project Ltd, who has been in the seed business for nine years in Kano and owns one of the over 120 registered seed companies in Nigeria.
Delighted by the feedback, Dr Teddy Ngu, representative Honeywell Group, assured farmers, “If you produce high quality seed, you will get more incentives.” Dr Ngu noted that Honeywell Group would require about 80,000 tons of grain in the coming year, which would be a ready market for the farmers, especially for the Samsong 17 (SK5912) and the CRS-01 varieties. “If we can get good grains from farmers in Nigeria, the volume of our imports will reduce drastically,” he said.
The recently concluded “Sorghum Innovation Platform”, was conducted by ICRISAT Nigeria in Kano. The event brought together over 50 participants from sorghum seed companies, aggregators, sorghum farmers, private companies like Honeywell Group, CGIAR centers such as International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and representatives from development projects (ATASP-1, Fadama 3, USAID-MARKETS2, and SG2000). The participants were from seven states in Nigeria, namely Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Niger, Kebbi and Sokoto states.