EU Ambassadors Visit Learning Site in Nigeria
KANO, NIGERIA – On 27 October, a delegation of European Union ambassadors visited the agricultural learning site at Sa’adatu Rimi University of Education in Kano, Nigeria. Visitors included Pieter Leenknegt, Ambassador, Embassy of Belgium in Nigeria; Patricia Gómez Lanzaco, Embassy Secretary, Embassy of Spain in Nigeria; Leila Ben Amor Mathieu, Head of Human Development Section, Delegation of the European Union in Nigeria; Leena Pylvänäinen, Ambassador, Embassy of Finland in Nigeria; and Wouter Plomp, Ambassador, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nigeria.
The learning site at Sa’adatu Rimi University is part of the HortiNigeria project, which is dedicated to developing sustainable, inclusive, and nutritionally secure horticulture in Nigeria. Sponsored by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, HortiNigeria is implemented by a consortium led by the International Fertilizer Development Center in collaboration with East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer Foundation (EWS-KT), KIT Royal Tropical Institute, Wageningen University & Research, and local partners.
The visit began with Dr. Miswaru Bello, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Sa’adatu Rimi University, and David Godfrey Alechenu, EWS-KT Project Manager for HortiNigeria, welcoming the guests and briefing them on the HortiNigeria project and its impact on the community.
The project is on track to train 60,000 smallholder farmers (40% women) in improved vegetable production, leading to sustainable income gains. HortiNigeria is also supporting the launch of 50 horticulture-related small or medium enterprises with business and investment plans. EWS-KT technical teams use diverse, tailored training approaches to appeal to women and youth in rural areas, employing intensive on-field practical training augmented with mobile phone learning platforms, social media facilitated groups, and women-led radio podcasts.
The EU delegation then toured the learning site. At the seedling production zone, visitors observed protected seedling production and ground nursery techniques. They also stopped by the zero energy cooling chamber (ZECC) area to see the differences between mud and charcoal ZECCs for storing dry and fresh vegetables.
Later, the group visited EWS-KT’s booth showcasing climate-smart practices. Staff at the booth shared information about different seed varieties, seedling media, nature-based pest management solutions, water efficiency, post-harvest handling techniques, and more.
The group also visited the learning site’s action research plot, where an EWS-KT Technical Specialist explained the use of different mulching materials (plastic, rice straw, and neem leaves) to reduce weeds, stabilize soil, conserve water, and improve plant health.
Throughout the tour, the international visitors interacted with farmers to better understand climate-smart agricultural practices and their benefits to vegetable farmers.
We were proud to welcome our international guests to learn about the HortiNigeria project and the important work EWS-KT is doing with smallholder farmers!