From Esther Akaa, Lafia
Farmers in Nasarawa State are expressing joy for getting new rice production technologies introduced by Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA), a Nippon Foundation Japan-funded international non-profit organisation.
The Japanese technologies known as “Bokashi and Biochar” assist in soil amendments and the decarbonisation of the production of rice in order to address the issue of climate change, boost crop output by improving the soil health.
During the SAA 2023 media field days trip on Tuesday in Lafia and Doma Local Government Areas (LGAs), some farmers gave testimonies of the impact of the new technologies on rice production in the state.
Speaking in an interview with The Voice, the Secretary of Dacewa Multi-purpose Cooperative, Shabu Community in Lafia LGA, Mr Ngali Ali- Shabu said the technologies had greatly improved their yield.
According to him, the new methods generated better results and were more cost-effective in terms of the quantity of seeds and fertilisers used.
“Before, in planting rice, we broadcast and you hardly harvest 10 bags from a hectare of land. However, with these technologies, the story is different.
“You can imagine, we have harvested four 135 kilograms bags of rice from this pilot plot of 20/50 metres.
“In fact, Sasakawa has exposed us to the real technologies in rice production – from land preparation, nursery, transplanting and the production of organic fertiliser,” he said.
He further stated the results of their pilot field had established them as a model learning platform for other farmers in the neighborhood, who were coming to observe and implement the same techniques on their fields.
Another Farmer, Hussaini Kabiru- Mohammed said that the SAA’s training had also given them the opportunity to learn more about using digital marketing App, Agroponto to market their produce.
He, therefore called on other organisations to emulate SAA and come to the aid of farmers to increase agricultural yields in the state.
Similarly, Farmers in Doma LGA of the state said, the interventions provided by SAA had increased their crop yield as well as encouraged them to start small businesses.
The Chairman, Amoyi Rice Farmers, Mr Ahmed Musa, said the association has benefited from the interventions provided by SAA, saying that the group comprising of 30 members have been trained on farmer group dynamics, produce aggregation and collective inputs procurement.
“Sasakawa Africa Association has trained us on good agronomic practices, how to manage farm inputs and on how to keep farm records.
“We have also been able to use the money we got from farming to buy lands and pay our children school fees,” he said.
On her part, Amina Omadefu- Isyaka said she has been able to start a business that was putting food on her table and providing funds for payment of her children’s school fees.
In his remarks, SAA’s Technical Coordinator, Regenerative Agriculture, Mr Ibrahim Fagge, explained that the “Bokashi and Biochar” are soil amendment technologies help to reduce excess dependence on Chemical fertilizers to reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emission in rice production.
“Here, we taught them how to apply Urea super granules by burying them in the soil as against their usual practice of broadcasting. This will in a way, reduce the emission of gas from the fertiliser.
“Aside decarbonisation, we know that most farm lands in the country are low in fertility and given the growing cost of fertilizer, we want to look at how to farmers can have some relief using the ‘Bokashi and Biochar’ technologies to improve soil fertility.
“The materials are affordable and accessible – the major component is rice husk and other domestic waste items and the farmers were taught on how to incorporate it in their farms during land preparation.
“This will help improve the physical, chemical and biological properties of the soil and repair its structure and texture for a very long time,” he said.
He reaffirmed the organisation’s commitment to helping small farmers increase their output in order to address the food security challenges and assist them adapt to the consequences of climate change on their communities.
The Voice reports that the programme is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ( MOFA) of Japan and implemented in the state by SAA.