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Netherlands Embassy Visits HortiNigeria Project in Kano State

Posted On: May 31, 2024
Dr. Miswaru Bello, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Sa’adatu Rimi University of Education, stands as he addresses visitors to the learning site at the university. Seated on a bench facing him are Mohammed Salasi Idris, HortiNigeria Program Director;  Temitayo Akinbiyi, Policy Officer, Education, and Mariska Lammers, First Secretary, Food Security and Climate, from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Abuja; Yusuf Dramani, Country Director for IFDC Nigeria; and Ruth Ardzard, EWS-KT Knowledge Transfer Manager for Nigeria.
Dr. Miswaru Bello (standing), Deputy Vice Chancellor of Sa’adatu Rimi University of Education, welcomes visitors to the HortiNigeria learning site. Seated on the facing bench are (left to right) Mohammed Salasi Idris, HortiNigeria Program Director; Temitayo Akinbiyi, Policy Officer, Education, and Mariska Lammers, First Secretary, Food Security and Climate, from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Nigeria; Yusuf Dramani, IFDC Country Director for Nigeria; and Ruth Ardzard, EWS-KT Knowledge Transfer Manager for Nigeria.

KANO STATE, NIGERIA – On 21 May, an esteemed delegation from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Abuja visited the HortiNigeria learning site in Kumbotso, Kano state, to gain a firsthand look at the ongoing project activities.

Embassy delegates included Mariska Lammers, First Secretary, Food Security and Climate; Temitayo Akinbiyi, Policy Officer, Education; and Foluso Adejoro, Policy Advisor, Food Security and Climate.

The embassy delegation was joined by IFDC Country Director for Nigeria Yusuf Dramani and HortiNigeria Program Director Mohammed Salasi Idris, along with HortiNigeria program managers and Kano-based team members. Also in attendance were students from Bayero University Kano, Sa’adatu Rimi University of Education, Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Aliko Dangote University Wudil, and the Federal College of Agricultural Produce Technology Kano, as well as members of the Youth in Agriculture initiative.

Funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Nigeria, the HortiNigeria program is implemented through a consortium led by the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) that includes East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer Foundation, Wageningen University & Research, and KIT Royal Tropical Institute.

Touring the Learning Site

The HortiNigeria learning site, located on the Sa’adutu Rimi University campus, showcases a wide variety of effective vegetable farming methods. Among the techniques displayed to the visitors were the use of eco-efficient technologies such as neem oil as a biopesticide, jute for trellising, improvised storage facilities, and various soil amendment approaches.

The delegation then toured the seedling production area, where they observed the production of healthy seedlings and received explanations about both local methods and improved shade houses used for seedling raising.

The visit also included the home garden section, where seedlings are grown in a variety of commonly available materials, including pots and empty cement bags. Additionally, there is a display of local varieties, showcasing traditional farming practices used by the farmers.

Border crops such as sweet corn and marigold, planted around the learning site, were also pointed out to the visitors, and the Technical Specialist explained how they play a role in pest management, while the taller plants act as a windbreak.

The delegation was noticeably impressed by the learning site’s zero-energy cooling chamber technologies, including new storage facilities like pot-in-pot zero-energy cooling chambers for storing fresh vegetables. Another effective food storage technology shown to the visitors was the site’s onion storage hut.

Meeting the Dawakin Kudu Community

The visit continued to Dawakin Kudu Local Government Area, where a Technical Field Officer with the program welcomed the delegation. Accompanying him was Hassan Zakariya Gemu, a former key farmer who is now a Community Field Trainer. Hassan shared his inspiring journey with the HortiNigeria program, recounting how his engagement with the program significantly transformed his livelihood.

Historically, growing during the dry season was unthinkable in his region. However, with the introduction of more drought-tolerant varieties and modern farming technologies, this has become a reality.

Hassan highlighted that these advancements enabled him to produce sweet corn year-round, resulting in substantial financial returns. He emphasized that the vegetable production innovations shared through the HortiNigeria program have been widely adopted by farmers in his community and beyond, including by women and youth, fostering greater agricultural productivity and economic growth.

The next to speak were women farmers. They also testified to gaining a lot since the coming of the HortiNigeria program to their community. They shared how the program has enabled them to grow and sell vegetables like okra and cabbages, thereby enhancing their economic and nutritional well-being. In light of the significant benefits they have received through these activities, they pledged their continued support for farming vegetables.

The village head of Dawakin Kudu, Muhammadu Inuwa, also expressed his gratitude to the delegation for the transformative impact the HortiNigeria program has brought to his community. He encouraged all farmers present, both male and female, to embrace modern farming practices, highlighting them as essential for the future of agriculture.

The meeting concluded with a strong plea from Mariska Lammers, requesting the immediate establishment of a learning site in Abuja. This proposed site would further extend the benefits of modern agronomic practices and provide hands-on learning opportunities for more farmers and agricultural enthusiasts.

Women farmers in Dawakin Kudu pose for a photo with Mariska Lammers.

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