ABUJA – Mrs Karima Babangida, Director, Federal Department of Agriculture in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development(FMARD), has said agriculture must be practised as a business, rather than cultural practice, for Nigeria to achieve food and nutritional security.
Babangida stated this at the flag-off of a five-day training on Farmers Business School(FBS) for Irish potato farmers in Gezawa communities in Gezawa Local Government of Kano State.
Babangida represented by Abbah Gana, Kano State Coordinator, pointed out that over the years, farming has been treated as cultural practice rather than business.
She stressed the need for a paradigm shift in agricultural practice, adding that Nigerians should see agriculture as a business to change the narrative about farming and boost food production in the country.
Her words:”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 been 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 narratives about farming as culture to farming as a business.”
It is against this backdrop, she said the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with German International Corporation (GIZ) has been a strong advocate for this paradigm shift in agriculture development.
Commenting on the importance of Irish potatoes to farmers, Babangida described it as “a premium cash crop sought after by many here in the country and other West African countries.”
On the essence of the five-day workshop, the FDA Director explained that it was meant 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 knowhow on farming practices so they can earn more income from doing the same job.
“It’s important to know that FBS is capable of starting a potato revolution here in Kano especially in Gezawa LGA and other communities in the state that has potentials to grow potato during dry season,” she said.
To this end, Babangida charged all participants to make good use of the training to learn and adopt the new farming business innovations that would be handed over to them over the course of the workshop which covers twelve modules with different topics and practical through participatory approach.
He further revealed that potato farmers in Plateau State who were the first to benefit from FBS have profited immensely from the adoption of these new farming business innovations, adding that the same would be replicated in Kano State.
“FMARD is poised to build the capacity of farmers in other States with potentials to grow Irish potato with new innovations and techniques on Good Agricultural Practices(GAP) and FBS to ensure productivity and income generation.
“I hope that by the end of this 5-day workshop, the purpose for organising this FBS training would have been achieved and potato farmers in Gezawa would have been equipped with the requisite skills and knowledge on farming as a business for increased productivity and income.
“The 60 participants would also be able to spread the knowledge on FBS to other farmers within the communities.
“It is expected that this 5 -day workshop would avail all participants the opportunity to master the basic farming business models to grow their potato business,” she assured.