Seeds Of Renaissance: Changing Lives In Borno

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Borno State: Reports of a positive impact are being received from recipients of the seeds donated in 2017to help alleviate the food crisis in northern Nigeria.

The rebuilding and restoration initiative, which was dubbed “Seeds of Renaissance” was organized by IITA and kicked-started with a donation of about 35,930 kilograms of seed to the Borno State government.

The seeds were provided by IITA, AfricaRice, and ICRISAT and included improved varieties of cowpea, soybean, maize, millet, sorghum, and rice that were adapted to the climate of the region.

Farmers from different parts of Borno, who had benefited from the donations, have spoken of their experiences in cultivating and harvesting these seeds.
“Truly, I must say that I am very happy with the seeds that I received because when I planted them, they gave no problems. I had a bountiful harvest of fine seeds in return,” said Maryam Muh’dfrom Hawul Local Government Area.

She received soybean seed and was full of praise for the quality which compared favorably with other seed she had planted previously. “The seeds I used before yielded small seeds but seeds from IITA yieldeda much bigger harvest…For instance, where I got exactly two bags before, I now reap between three to three and a half bags,” she added.
Most of the recipients talked about the economic impact and better quality of living that planting these improved seeds had brought to their lives.

Commenting on the seed yield, Zachari Yusuf Kwaya, a farmer from Kwaya village said, “There is this neighbor and friend of mine whose farm is very close to my own farm who also farms soybean and planted more than myself. But for me, as God would have it, I got better seeds from IITA and reaped twice as much as he had farmed.”

Another farmer, Lammi Lawan, also highlighted the economic benefits of these high-yielding seeds, “After I harvested them, I used my earnings to send my children to school… I also sold part of it and used the money to buy another small plot of land.”

When asked about getting more of these seeds in future, all the respondents were enthusiastic. “I like the seed very well. If only I would be able to get it again… I have reserved a small amount of it but I will not mind getting other seeds, because the new seeds would yield better,” Usaman Madu answered.

Madu received both soybean and maize seeds. “These two seeds I have received from IITA has contributed to improving the quality of my life. Thank you to whoever initiated this program. It has helped to bring development to our land especially Borno State, and we will never forget about them.”

Also underscoring the socioeconomic gains of the initiative, Lawan added, “I have no husband, and I have no mother and father. Again, I had loved ones who were killed by Boko Haram. That’s why I am thanking IITA a lot because they have really helped me to ‘wipe away my shame’.”

The future looks brighter as the hope of these farmers is being restored, one seed at a time.