Group trains Jigawa farmers in prevention of post-harvest losses

Sasakawa Africa Association has trained farmers in Jigawa on market-oriented agriculture to enhance the rural economy and prevent post-harvest losses.

The two-day training, which ended on Tuesday in Dutse, was organised for some farmer groups in Birnin Kudu, Ringim and Kirikasanma local government areas of the state.

The Sasakawa Technical Coordinator for Market-Oriented Agriculture in Kano State, Isaac Enr, said that the training was to “convert farmers’  minds from grow and sell to grow to sell.”

“It’s training for vegetable farmers, which we call the Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment Promotion Approach. As you know, their products are perishable, and we want to see how they can reduce the risks of their business.

“So this training is just trying to orient them to make sure that they practise their business in a market-oriented way, to make sure that they have an idea of the market that they’re going to sell to before even going to farm to produce,” Mr Enr said.

He explained that the idea was developed in Kenya in 2006 and had succeeded in increasing farmers’ income.

“The approach is to address this problem and empower farmers to look for markets as well as manage the tricks that dealers play on them. The approach also provides a platform for contributing to the goals of economic growth since horticulture provides avenues for food and economic activities in the country,” the coordinator added.

According to him, the overall goal is to improve the livelihood of smallholder horticulture producers.

“That’s why part of the training requires that the trainees later go to the vegetable market and carry out a survey on six crops, such as tomatoes, onions, peppers, lettuce and watermelon. The idea is to interview dealers on the market situation so that when they come back, we can analyse, do the budgeting and know what kind of crop to target next season.

“At the end of everything, we expect the beneficiaries to take farming as a business and make sure that they move from the “grow and sell” to the “grow to sell” approach,” Mr Enr said.

He said that the farmers would be supported by water pumps and sprayers to enhance their production.

In his remarks, Director of Extension Services, Jigawa State Agricultural and Development Authority, Dahiru Shitu, commended Sasakawa for organising the training, saying it would help the farmers address market challenges for their produce.

Umar Kura, who spoke on behalf of the participants, commended the association for the training and pledged that they would step it down for other farmers.

“Before now, we only produced what to eat or sell at lower prices, but now we have acquired skills and knowledge on how to get good prices even before we produce,” Mr Kura said.