OCP AFRICA has launched a new initiative-Agribooster Campus Offer, at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, targeted at empowering 5,000 maize farmers within the university and its immediate environment.
The programme, rolled out in partnership with ABU, is first of its kind for Nigerian universities.As part of the launch, the institution’s Faculty of Agriculture nominated 15 of its postgraduate students to be trained and equipped on agriculture extension skills, to reach the target 5,000 farmers, teaching them best practices in the application of various farm inputs to maximize yield in maize cultivation.
The Country Manager of OCP Africa, Mr. Caleb Usoh, said the initiative would provide the farmers with fertilizer, seeds, and agro-chemicals; funding through its project partner, ABU Microfinance Bank Limited; and training for the postgraduate extension workers who will, in turn, train the farmers.
“We are very positive that this programme will significantly expand the yields of these farmers, based on the quality of the seeds and fertilizer we have brought in. The students who are going to become agri-promoters in the different villages where these 5,000 farmers are operating will create awareness for them in the proper use of farm inputs. With this intervention, the farmers will get the right types of fertilizers and other critical inputs in sufficient quantities, and at the right time.”
The Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, ABU Zaria, Prof. Olufunmilola Alabi, expressed joy that the institution was chosen to kick-start the initiative in universities. He said the selected postgraduate students are being trained to become extension workers who will work with the farmers within the institution’s immediate environment.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Kaduna State, who represented the state governor, Alhaji Abdulkadir Kasim, expressed optimism that Agribooster Campus Offer will be a powerful complement towards the transformation of agriculture in the entire the state.
“We congratulate the company and its partners for putting together this intervention, which will ultimately help our state to move agriculture away from subsistence levels and make it a more profitable business.”One of the postgraduate extension workers, Mr. Elijah Ogunshola said with the training, both in the classroom, as well as what he has received from OCP Africa in the past six months, the yield of farmers under his watch would significantly increase.