From: Kazeem Biriowo, Abuja
As part of efforts to boost the potato value-chain, German International Corporation otherwise known as GIZ in partnership with the Farm Radio International and Green Innovation Center for Agriculture and Food Sector has launched a new radio programme for rural farmers.
The project which got support of the Plateau State government was launched in Jos, the Plateau State capital and is also expected to create jobs and further transform the staple foods in the country.
The radio programme tagged Dankali would be broadcast in Hausa language.
‘Rumbum Arsiki’ translated from Hausa dialect which means “Potato is the Store House of Wealth” would make its debut for the duration of one hour between 18hours to 19hours GMT on Plateau State Radio Corporation 90.5 FM on Thursday with the repeat broadcast on every Fridays for the period of one year at the pilot stage.
In his address, the Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, identified need for the Farm Radio Programme initiative as it seeks to compliments government’s laudable efforts to contribute significantly to poverty eradication and hunger in the state and beyond.
The Governor who was represent by his Deputy, Prof Sonni Tyoden noted that due to the importance government placed on agriculture, the partnership between GIZ and the state government has led to the training of 20,000 potato farmers in both group agricultural practices and farmers business school.
“The state government has in addition recently made fertilizer and other farm inputs available at the subsidized rate for farmers for the 2019 cropping season. Besides, other farmers’ friendly policies introduced to ensure food sufficiency in the state”.
The Governor, however called on private organisations to embrace the initiative to ensure the programme continuity for the sustainability of food security in the country.
Earlier, GIZ Country Director, Hans-Ludwig Bruns, said the farm radio initiative is to build the capacity of small holder farmers. According to him, since 2016, a total of 190,000 farmers have been reached to tool trainees in the field of good agricultural practices and farmers business school.
“For example, coming back to Plateau State, the project has so far reached 21,000 Irish potato farmers since 2015. We also need to raise awareness of our supporters groups of farmers and this we do to channel through radio because we know that radio is used by a lot of people in Nigeria”.
“This is why we wil like to share our success stories as well as sharing information associated about farmer business school also to agricultural best practices.” He reiterated.
In his remarks, the Director of Federal Department of Agricultural Extension (FDAE), Mrs Mariam Babangida hope the Agricultural Extension Farm Radio programme to further build on the previous achievements made so far on GAP among potato farmers in the state.
Represented by the Assistant Director, Bashir Abdukadir she urged the targeted farmer groups and other stakeholders to take advantage of the opportunity to improve on their agricultural practices.
On his part, the Country Representative, Farmers Radio International, Benjamin Fiafor, reassured the farmers about the commitment to make the programme work to produce necessary impact for the projects.
He further said as part of the project, they have carried out what he called informative research to learn what the farmers want from the radio programme, improve upon existing activities of the farmers.