ABUJA – The Federal Government has begun an intensive training for Irish potato farmers in Bauchi on agribusiness.
Mrs Karima Babangida, Director, Federal Department of Agriculture in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development(FMARD) in her opening remarks at a five-day training in Toro Local Government Area of Bauchi State, said there was an urgent need to build the capacity of Irish potato farmers with a focus on re-educating them on taking farming as a business rather than “culture”.
Babangida pointed out that over the years, farming generally has been practised from the perception of being a culture instead of being viewed as a business.
Babangida, represented by Bauchi State Coordinator, Mr. Illiya Daniel Abarshi, said in the nation’s quest for food security and nutrition, there was the need to change the narrative about farming as culture to farming as a business.
She said:”It is my pleasure to deliver this opening remarks at this all important capacity building workshop on Farmers Business School (FBS) with focus on re-educating Irish potato farmers on farming as business rather than being a ‘’culture’’.
“You would agree with me that for decades farming generally has been practised from the perception of being a culture of our fore fathers instead of being viewed as a profession.
“In the pursuit of food security and nutrition for our country, and if we are to achieve these, we must begin to change the narrative about farming as culture to farming as a business.
“It is in this regard that Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with German International Corporation (GIZ) has been a strong advocate for this paradigm shift in our agriculture.”
She noted that Irish potato was chosen because it has become a premium cash crop sought after by many people in Nigeria and other West African countries.
While explaining the concept of the training on farming business models, Babangida said, “The purpose of this 5 -day workshop is to bring together Irish potato farmers in class of 30 each to build their capacity on simple farming business models and concept in order to increase their technical know-how on farming practices so they can earn more income from doing the same job.
“It is important to know that FBS is capable of starting a potato revolution here in Bauchi State especially in Toro Local Government Area and other communities in the State that has potentials to grow potato during dry season.”
To this end, she tasked all participants to make good use of the training and adopt new farming business innovations that would be handed over to them during the training which covers 12 modules with different topics and practical through participatory approach.
It would be recalled that potato farmers in Plateau State were the first beneficiaries of FBS.
Babangida revealed that these farmers in Plateau State have profited immensely from the adoption of these new farming business innovations in the State.
“I have no doubt the same will be the outcome here after the workshop is over.
“FMARD is poised to build the capacity of farmers in other states with potentials to grow Irish potato with innovations and techniques on Good Agriculturak Practices and FBS to ensure productivity and income generation,” she assured.