By Adeola Ajakaiye, in Kano
Rice farmers in Jigawa State have received a climate-smart training on system of rice intensification (SRI), a new approach to rice production that increases the crop productivity and reduces methane emissions by at least 22 percent to a maximum of 64 percent.
The training was part of a tripartite partnership between the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) of the British government through its intervention on investment promotion under the LINKS Project, the Jigawa State government and a leading commodity trading firm, Silvex International Limited.
Muhammad Adamu, an agribusiness consultant and the CEO of training firm, Green Sahel Agric Ventures, while delivering the training, disclosed that the system of rice intensification (SRI) uses a cultivation system of alternate wetting and drying that creates aerobic soil conditions that reduce the production of methane, adding that it uses less seeds and less water, whilst increasing yields.
“As such it can increase farmer incomes whilst reducing GreenHouse Gases (GHG) emissions. Despite the benefits of SRI having been demonstrated in over 60 countries, it has not been demonstrated at any scale in northern Nigeria. It also utilizes different techniques to the traditional norms, and widespread adoption in Nigeria will require farmers to be trained in these new techniques and be convinced of the benefits,” he reiterated
The two-day training of trainers for the lead farmers and field coordinators is expected to be stepped down to at least 50 farmers in each cluster of 27 communities across nine local government areas in both Kano and Jigawa to cover at least 12, 150 farmers in the two states.
Abubakar Usman Karfi, managing director/CEO, Silvex International Limited, speaking at the venue of the training in Dutse, Jigawa State, assured the commitment of the company in supporting farmers to move towards a sustainable means of commodity production in Nigeria.
The training and field visits signalled the commencement of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) project anchored by the FCDO LINKS project in Kano and Jigawa States, where Silvex International Limited serves as a major implementing partner.
In a sideline meeting at Dutse, shortly after the training, Silvex International Limited and the delegation of the British FCDO/UKAID, which included Chris Pycroft, the director of development; Gail Warrender, senior economic team leader, and other senior officials of the FCDO Nigeria, they agreed to focus on innovation, investment and infrastructure development in the agricultural value chains in Nigeria.
Abubakar Karfi assured the delegation of his company’s full commitment and more investment into backward integration to support smallholder farmers improve their income and livelihoods through providing steady access to markets, especially for commodities produced in an eco-friendly practice for employment and wealth creation.
Officials of the British government had earlier paid a courtesy visit to the Jigawa State governor, Muhammad Abubakar, where both parties renewed their commitments to promoting agribusiness and investments. Jigawa State has in recent times intensified efforts in attracting investors from within and outside the country.