At a moment when some people with special needs are busy begging along various traffic points in the city of Kano, many of them in Tudun Wada Local Government Area of the state have been placed into farming groups and trained on newly developed farming techniques.
This has kept them off the streets and made them engaged in full time agricultural practices, especially in the area of maize production.
These farmers have started adopting the modern farming technology including the use of improved maize seeds, new method of fertilizer application and other innovations introduced to maize farmers by Sasakawa Global 2000 (SG2000-Nigeria) to boost maize production and also to discourage members from street begging.
A visit to Gawon Tudun Wada revealed that the maize farmers with special needs are encouraged to form farmers’ groups, and are trained by experienced extension agent on new farming techniques that will not only boost their production ability but will also encourage others to emulate.
A leader of one of the groups, Malam Haladu Muhammed, noted that ever since they embraced farming, begging ceased to be their means of getting money. He said with the intervention given to the group by Sasakawa project, many members of the group have been taken off the street and fully engaged in agricultural production.
“Unlike begging that has subjected us to series of degradation and humiliation, farming gives us hope and restored our pride as humans. If not for this project, probably some of us would have been dead by now due to abject poverty and extreme hunger; but the good news here is that, we no longer wait for people to feed us, we feed ourselves and we no longer hang around to beg others.
“We are lucky that, through agriculture, we were able to discover new life and with this new technology that brought about the revolution in maize product in our area, it is apparent that our members will surely need an increase in the farms they cultivate and others will also want to be like us,” he said.
Sasakawa’s Country Director, Professor Sani Miko, said SG2000-Nigeria country programme began in March 1992, under an agreement signed with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources to work with federal and state agencies to raise agricultural productivity and improve food crop marketing. He added that the major objectives of the project were to raise the crop management skills of front-line extension staff and smallholder farmers in order to increase crop production and productivity, taking into consideration the size of Nigeria.
Kano State coordinator, Malam Kasim Sufiyanu, stated that the project was aimed at increasing the production of maize in areas identified as maize producing zones. He said the project will be boosted through the introduction of the new technology in fertilizer application as against the traditional way the farmers were used to and also to introduce the use of seeds that are tolerant to striga and with a high yield ability.