AU sets to train 5,400 Bauchi farmers on dry-season farming, livestock production, others
By Charly Agwam – Bauchi
The African Union under its AUDA-NEPAD programme is training 5,400 smallholder farmers across Bauchi to strengthen their capabilities, accelerate productive land restoration and combat desertification.
This was made known in Bauchi on Monday by the Bauchi State Director General of SDGs and State Coordinator/Focal Person AUDA-NEPAD, Dr. Esther Ahmed during the Flag-off and Capacity Building Training for the benefiaciaries.
The programme tagged ‘Innovative Strengthening of Small-holder Farmers Capabilities Towards Productive Land Restoration Amid COVID-19 in Nigeria’ is geared towards promoting the use of innovative technology to reduce postharvest losses and maximize food security.
According to her, “The programme by AUDA-NEPAD (African Union Development Agency and New Partnership for Africa’s Development) is aimed at strengthening small-holder farmer capabilities, accelerate productive land restoration.
“It will combat desertification and promote the use of innovative technology to reduce postharvest losses and maximize food security amid covid-19 pandemic.
“The programme is focused on some selected activities that will be implemented on strong agricultural footing towards sustainable development in the medium and long-term.
“These activities include; drip irrigation farming system and other irrigation facilities, green house construction, livestock production/husbandry farming which will mostly involve women and People Living with Disability (PLWD), agricultural equipment and infrastructure, post-harvest storage and processing, capacity building of farmers (beneficiaries) and other stakeholders.”
The AUDA-NEPAD focal person further noted that Bauchi State was selected as one of the 20 pilot States for the project having met all the criteria set by AUDA-NEPAD for eligibility to participate in the programme.
“The total amount budgeted for the project in the first year is put at Four Billion, Two Hundred and Ninety-Two Million, One Hundred and Seventy-Five Thousand, Six Hundred and Sixty Naira only (N4,298,175,660.00). The project is expected to run for a period of ten years.
“A total of 5,400 beneficiaries would benefit in the first year of the project, with 2,895 males representing 53.61% and 2,505 females representing 46.39% and 10per cent of the total beneficiaries for Persons with Disabilities.
“The State has earmarked 2,400ha of land for the project to the three (3) senatorial districts of the State with three (3) LGAs each making nine (9) LGAs to participate in the project in the cluster farming. 1,200 beneficiaries for drip irrigation (dry season), while 1,800 beneficiaries for rainfed.
“Also, 600 beneficiaries mostly women and persons with disabilities are for green house farming with 60 green houses to be constructed in all the 20 LGAs. A total of 1,800 beneficiaries mostly women and PWDs will benefit on livestock husbandry production with women having 1,620 beneficiaries which represent 90%, while 180 will be for the People Living with Disability (PLWD) representing 10%.
“Crops selected for the project were selected based on their comparative advantage in the twenty LGAs earmarked for the intervention. The crops include vegetables (tomato, onion, lettuce, cabbage, cucumber etc.) while for cereals/legumes are wheat, rice, millet, sesame, sorghum, cowpea, groundnut etc.,” she said.
On his part, Governor Bala Mohammed who was represented by the Secretary of the State Government assured that his administration will give all needed support in oder to ensure that the programme is successful.