Participants of the workshop organized by IITA and ICRISAT. Photo: Sarah Sallau, IITA Kano

Rooting for strong partnerships and participatory extension in Nigeria for robust cereal-legume production

Participants of the workshop organized by IITA and ICRISAT. Photo: Sarah Sallau, IITA Kano

Participants of the workshop organized by IITA and ICRISAT. Photo: Sarah Sallau, IITA Kano

To enhance partnerships and make the extension systems for cereals and legumes production technologies in Nigeria more participatory, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and ICRISAT recently organized a workshop for agencies implementing the Kano State Agro Pastoral Development Project.

“What we need to succeed is a good partnership comprising several stakeholders and good linkage to the market for the farmers,” said Dr Alpha Kamara, Principal scientist, IITA, in his opening remarks. “In the past, technology development and delivery followed a linear approach, with researchers developing technologies and handing them to extension organizations that tested and passed onto farmers but with little feedback. This approach did not deliver technologies to create the required impact. We should be reorganized with strong partnership, market delivery and gender mainstreaming.”

The workshop was organized on 10 August following successful completion of trainings as part of the project to support Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) in the promotion of technologies for the production of cereals, including maize, sorghum, millet and rice. The Kano State Agricultural Development (KNARDA) is being backstopped with trainings and technologies for the production of legume crops, such as soybean, cowpea and groundnut. The project is helping a large number of farmers in the state in multiple ways to raise the productivity of cereals and legumes.

Dr Kamara pointed out the constraints facing crop production such as parasitic weed infestation of cereal and legumes crops, poor soil fertility, drought, poor access to inputs crop pests and disease, poor crop management and ineffective extension systems.

He also advocated the use of innovation systems approach, wherein various stakeholders are organized in innovation platforms. “These platforms enable stakeholders to interact, discuss problems, solutions and entry points to target communities. Innovation platforms should strengthen community base organizations (CBO) and make sure that gender is mainstreamed in all the activities,” Dr Kamra added. Several successful examples of past projects implemented in Northern Nigeria, where strong platforms led to delivery of technologies and high adoptions, were cited.

The four stages of participatory research and extension in technology delivery for sustainable agriculture as explained by Dr Ajeigbe

Stage 1– Situation analysis and social mobilization, carrying people along. This includes using the opportunity to know the challenges and coping mechanism that will assist in formulating the things to be done .

Stage 2– Action planning, where partners decide what to do and how and assign roles to different partners

Stage 3– Experimentation is to try out new ideas and also know that different actors will adopt from the experience of stage one and two.

Stage 4– Experience sharing is where the field day and mid-season and end season evaluation, and review activities happen.

“The project is a great opportunity that will transform agriculture in Kano State. I am delighted to be part of this training and urge all participants to utilize it. This will be a big milestone for Kano and Nigeria at large,” said Mr Hafiz Mohammed, a representative of the Kano State Deputy Governor.

Dr Hakeem Ajeigbe, ICRISAT’s Country Representative in Nigeria, dwelled on the importance of participatory research and extension in technology delivery for sustainable agriculture. “To really influence adoption, there is a need to enter into partnerships and work with extension groups to ensure that they are adequately extending and disseminating research results. Most importantly, there is also a need to let farmers who are end users contribute more into the conception of research,” he said.

“Participatory means working together as a group and considering gender in the whole process as we collaborate with farmers, researchers and extension networks as equal partners. Farmers have a unique ability in terms of local knowledge of their environment as well as in coping mechanisms, which many researchers and extension personnel may not have. Other partners have unique contributions to make the platform effective and participatory,” Dr Ajeigbe added.

“The Kano State Agro Pastoral Development Project, which started in 2019, benefited from the leadership of the Executive Governor of Kano State, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, toward improving agricultural production and the productivity in the state,” said
Dr Junaid Yakubu Mohammed, Managing Director of Kano State Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (KNARDA).

“This training of the trainers for partnership will help the implementation of the project to which many partners are contributing to achieve the desired objective. For example, IITA and ICRISAT are among the co-partners doing research that will help the farmers increase their production and productivities of targeted crops,” Dr Mohammed added.

The workshop was conducted with support from the Islamic Development Bank. The opening of the program was chaired by Mr Nasir Yusuf Gawuna, Special Assistant to the Kano State Governor, who represented the Deputy Governor. Alh Ibrahim Garba, State Project Coordinator of the KSADP cereal-component, and other senior staff of KNARDA participated.

Project: Kano State Agro Pastoral Development Project
Funder: Kano State Government through Islamic Development Bank
Partners: Kano (KNARDA), Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)

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