Raised Beds Make It Possible to Grow During the Rainy Season
By Hamza Muddasir, a 37-year-old farmer and iron bender. Hamza has two wives and nine children.
KANO STATE, NIGERIA — I first met the East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer Foundation (EWS-KT) team during a village-based training session where we were invited to learn about modern techniques of farming vegetables. How would this work? I thought to myself. I knew nobody dared to plant tomatoes in the rainy season, due to flooding.
We were trained on seedling production using an improved ground nursery and seedling trays. I was very fascinated by the method used, as I felt it was much simpler than what I had been doing and could possibly yield higher results. During the training, some of the farmers did not pay attention, but I definitely wasn’t one of them. I was amazed at the horticultural techniques, especially the raised bed. I kept wondering how this could be possible.
I kept coming for subsequent training sessions, and I never went home the same. This is because the EWS-KT Technical Field Officer took time to explain to us—and to show us through practical demonstrations—processes such as sowing, transplanting, fertilisation, mulching, integrated pest and disease management, and trellising. I in particular asked so many questions to clear my doubts before I was willing to adopt all these techniques on my 700-square-metre farm.
What truly convinced me was the growth of the key farmer’s demonstration farm, which was just opposite my fallow land.
What truly convinced me was the growth of the key farmer’s demonstration farm, which was just opposite my fallow land. One day, I finally summoned the courage to walk up to the EWS-KT Technical Field Officer as she was arriving for her regular demonstration farm visit and training session. As I ran to meet her and tell her my intentions, she cheerfully told me all that I needed to do to successfully adopt vegetable growing techniques. I immediately swung into action, buying the necessary agricultural inputs and following all of EWS-KT’s techniques, beginning with three packs of Padma FI hybrid tomato seeds.
All the surrounding farmers in my community have now adopted the same land preparation techniques, especially raised bed farming, which allows for better soil aeration and water drainage. I am very grateful I took this bold step of venturing into modern farming practice.
I am already seeing the difference in performance compared to local practices. When we don’t use raised beds during the rainy season, all of our hard work washes away. I have started setting up raised beds for my numerous friends, who pay me a small amount. Now I am not only adopting EWS-KT techniques but also earning a living from it.
My intention is to train more unemployed youth in my community with the knowledge I have gained, and to help them realise that they too can make farming a career, which will provide them with a legitimate source of income.
Transforming Nigeria’s Vegetable Market contributes to more resilient and more efficient vegetable production by introducing new varieties, adapted technologies, and evidence-based knowledge and skills. Making vegetables more widely available on the market at affordable prices will lead to improved nutrition among local, low-income households in Kaduna and Kano states. This project is co-funded by SDG Partnership Facility, a grant programme of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs managed by RVO. This project is led by EWS-KT in collaboration with our partners Wageningen University & Research, Solidaridad Network West Africa, Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry Kaduna State, and Ahmadu Bello University.