OCP Africa, a global leading company in the production and exportation of phosphate-based fertilizers has deepened its partnership with Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA), to ensure Nigerians are food secure by enhancingTomato production techniques and creating a viable and sustainable business modeland linkages around the value chain.
The partnership which is in its second year has helped toaddress constraints that hamper the improvement in yields of Tomato farmers in Nigeria’s agricultural sector and improve agricultural productivity, and standardization of outputs.
Very specifically,the project is focused on the establishment of Greenhouses andInput Hubs across Tomatoes farming locations for easy access to consistent and quality seedlings,access to modern agricultural technologies customized trainings, and guided practices to guarantee uniform outcome of produce that will feed identified commercial processors.
Akintunde Akinwande, OCP Africa’s Head of Business Development and Digital projects disclosed this at the 2021 Onboarding and Training workshop held in Kano for the Hub Managers and Extension Agents also known as Agripromoters.
Akinwande said so far, 20 Greenhouses have been established across major Tomato production areas in Jigawa, Kano, Kaduna, Nasarawa and Abuja, with over 20,000 farmers accessing quality seedlings and inputs as well as good agricultural practice trainings on modern production techniques as well as linkages toofftakemarkets and processors.
At the workshop, the newly recruited Agripromoters and Hub managers were trainedon modern Vegetable nursery establishment and management, good agronomy practices of horticulture, retail business and basic inventory management, and on the usage of digital work tools for data capturing and management. 10 motorcycles and electronic tablets as well as branded materials were presented at the workshop to the Agripromoters to support their mobility and data capturing as they perform their Agricultural extension functions.
Akinwande said the two organisations entered the partnership to leverage their capacities and experienceto address challenges that hamper the improvement and consistency in quality of farm yields and twoyearsdown the line, he is happy to say their objectives are gradually being achieved thus presenting a proof of concept for future expansion to new areas.
Both organizations leveraged on their flagship projects through the merging of OCP Africa’s Farm and Fortune Hub (FFH) model and SFSA’s Farmers Hub (FH) model.
OCP Africa’s FFH is an all-inclusive last mile distribution solution that aims to address the challenges of farm inputs availability and accessibility by bringing together all basic farm inputs, training and extension services needed to ensure the perennial increase of farmers’ yield and revenue under one physical roof close to smallholder farmers in rural communities. While SFSA developed the Farmer Hub model which runs as an independent business entity often overseen by a young Agripreneur, and it provides smallholder farmers with access to quality inputs, mechanization services, knowledge, and markets.
Akinwande added that in two years the partnership has empowered 20 hub managers to raise over 6 million seedlings at the Greenhouses, with the hub managers earning revenues of over N30 million from the sales of seedlings and other inputs. This has also resulted in the creation of about 300 direct jobs.
Gabriel Isaiah, SFSA-Nigeria’s Country Program Manager and Training Coordinator said the project focuses on raising healthy seedling to produce vegetables through innovative skills among others as the availability of good seeds and seedlings, quality fertilizer, crop protection and good nursery management are essential.
He implored the Hub Managers to pay keen attention because they are going to be ambassadors of the scheme wherever they go and this was why they were picked to be trained so that they will be able to train others.
Isaiah added that successes of the partnership in the last two years has motivated both organizations to explore opportunities to scale the reach to other parts of the country. The plan for the coming year, he said, is to extend the reach to South West states as well.
He also reiterated the mandate of both organizations to focus on gender and youth inclusion with a good number of the recruited hub managers and Agripromoters being young and vibrant women.
Speaking at the event, the Hub Manager in Makoda Kano, Musa Usman, appreciated OCP Africa/ SFSA for this laudable initiative, as he said he was ready to effectively put the Greenhouse given to him to good and profitable use.