From Maduabuchi Nmeribeh, Kano
When President Muhammadu Buhari took the mantle of leadership as a democratically elected president in 2015, one of the cardinal selling point of the All Progressive Congress (APC) government is to fight poverty through diversification of the economic, with a galloping shift from over-dependency in oil, into agricultural revolution. Many state across the federation queue into this agenda, though a few have been able to sustain it. In Kano, during his first term, Kano state Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje invested so much in the commercial production of rice and wheat—which, indeed paid off, as Kano has been in the front pew of rice and wheat production, with hundreds of thousands of farmers empowered.
However, Gamduje, in his bid to not only reduce poverty, but to ensure that the age-long clash between farmers and herders become a thing of the past, veered into a new area of agricultural development, taking advantage of the opportunities provided by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) which in collaboration with other partmers in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, launched the Life and Livelihoods Fund (LLF) in September, 2016.
Through this programme, the Kano state Agro Development Project (KSADP) able to secure a non-interest loan of $95 million dollars, payable within a period of about 50 years. The Project which is designed to empower over 1.26 million rural farmers was launched in February this year, but was slowed down due the outbreak of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Project Coordinator, Malam Ibrahim Garba Mohammed who spoke to our Correspondent, apart from empowering herders and farmers, KSADP has engaged in the construction of about 11 civil works, including the rehabilitation of the irrigation scheme at Watari Dam to the tune of about N300 million. He added that the Project which is cuttingacross the 44 Local Government Area of the state is expected to lift about 15 per cent of the rural population out of poverty.
Malam Garba Mohammed further hinted that, “the Kano State Agro-pastoral Development Project is a five-year programme which focuses on improving crop production and enhancing livestock productivity in the state of Kano. The Executing Agency of the program is the Kano State Agriculture and Rural Development Authority (KNARDA).
The overall objective of the KSADP is to contribute to reducing poverty and strengthening food and nutrition security in the state of Kano by developing agro-pastoral production systems (production, processing, and retailing). The target beneficiaries of the program include smallholder farmers and pastoralists. Other key beneficiaries are actors involved in the value chain of agro-pastoralism namely, agricultural produce processors, marketers, input suppliers, and financial institutions. The program will directly benefit over 1.26 million people.”
According to him, “the total estimated cost of the KSADP is $95 million of which $68 million is blended financing comprising 90 per cent ordinary financing and 10% as grant. $ 15 million will be provided by the IsDB through resources from the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD) and the IsDB will provide an ordinary loan of $7 million. The Government of Kano State will contribute counterpart financing of $5 million.”
He said the programme will be executed through agro-pastoral productivity and production enhancement, value addition and market access, project coordination and management, pointing out that the main activities of the Project include grazing reserve development, large-scale fodder production, development of land for irrigation, improving animal health services, improved milk collection, training and coaching for livestock activities, supporting small ruminants value chain, upgrading of key crop and livestock markets, as well as capacity building for actors in agro-pastoraloism.
He noted that the project will invest in developing the Dan Soshiya grazing reserve including 25 km of perimeter fencing, 20 km of access (earth) roads, 5 solar-powered boreholes with 20,000-litre overhead tanks, 4,000 ha of pasture land, a veterinary clinic, livestock marketing facilities, and a nomadic school, adding that, “of the 4,000 ha of pasture land, 3,000 ha will be for communal grazing under the directions of a Grazing Reserve Management Committee while 1,000 ha will be sub-divided among the settled pastoral families for the development and self-management of fodder banks (concept explained later) for their most productive animals around their homesteads. This will enable greater care to be provided to the most valuable animals, increase milk yield and facilitate artificial insemination services where needed. At full implementation, this activity is expected to yield 100,000 tons of fodder, supporting 20,000 livestock units and about 250 pastoral families all year round.”
The Project Coordinator further revealed that, “the project will support investment in commercial large scale fodder production in partnership with the private sector. It will identify 20 private sector investors interested in fodder production on plots of no less than 50 ha each, assist in the development of pastures, provision of harvesting and baling equipment and marketing facilities. Kano State government will make land available from other grazing reserves (except Dan Soshiya) and/or Livestock Breeding and Investigation Centres (LIBCs) for this purpose. Developed plots are to be leased under specified conditions to the identified entrepreneurs for commerce, as way of sustaining the investment and diversifying fodder production beyond the grazing reserves and complimenting other sources of feed and fodder. Under this arrangement, at least 1,000 ha of pastures (hybrid napier, Stylosanthes spp., etc.) which yield up to 25 t/ha in natural conditions and up to 80 t/ha under irrigation will be developed.
“The decision to irrigate would be left to entrepreneurs. Assuming natural conditions, this activity will make available (at full implementation) 25,000 t dry matter (DM) of fodder to livestock keepers in the state. In addition, large scale commercial fodder producers are expected to act as the springboard for scaling fodder production and as such, will produce and sell pasture seeds to fodder producers. “
According to him, “the project will support (with grants and credit) 5,000smallholders who have up to one ha each to develop pasture land from which they will cut-and-carry fodder and sell to prospective livestock producers, especially in the peri- urban setting, for dairying and fattening enterprises of both large and small ruminants. This activity will provide about 25 tons DM of fodder to each participant cultivating a hectare per year to support their livelihoods; and with 5,000 participants make available up to 75,000 mt DM of fodder to livestock keepers in the State.”
He hinted that rice production in fadama (inland valleys) is increasing but the utilization of rice straw is still minimal with most producers burning them to prepare the land for dry season farming, adding that, “however, rice straw can be treated with urea and fed to livestock to achieve reasonable weight gains. Thus, the project will identify 1,000 unemployed youth, group them into 200 production hubs around irrigation schemes and support each group with grant/credit for machines and materials (chopping machine, urea, plastic bags, funds for purchase and transportation of rice straw from fields), to produce and sell rice straw/urea mix feed. During the harvest season, each group of 5 youth will produce/sell 500 mt of feed. This activity will increase the availability of crop residue for livestock in the State by 100,000 t per annum at full implementation. “
The Project has also concluded plans to establish fodder banks as Malam Garba Mohammed rightly pointed out that, “traditionally, pastoral families move most of their animals southwards in the dry season in search of pasture and water. Some leave behind a few milking animals surviving on limited amounts of crop residues, to provide milk to the household. The project will support 2,650 livestock producers in grazing reserves and outside (especially around milk collection centres), to develop 2-4 ha of pasture around their homestead, to support higher numbers of productive animals in the dry season, stopping them from the annual migration.
“This will reduce the number of nomadic animals, meaning a reduction in risk of conflict and increase the availability of milk at their associated milk collection centres (MCC). Productive animals will also be available for artificial insemination where desired. Under this project, fodder banks will provide at least 130,000 t additional fodder per annum if participants develop the minimum of only 2 ha each.”
He said the project will invest in rehabilitating and providing drugs to nine (9) zonal veterinary clinics in Rano, Dambatta, Gwarzo, Dawakin Tofa, Gaya, Gwale, Kundila, Sumaila and Gabasawa as well as construct two (2) new ones in Bachirawa and Kiru. It will equip 220 Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs) or Paravets recruited (5 from each of the 44 LGAs) and trained under the project, with starter packs containing basic equipment and drugs, to enable them deliver basic health services in their localities. In return for such services, they will charge fees to restock and make a living. They will be under the supervision of a veterinarian and assist in vaccination campaigns. The project will support annual vaccination of cattle, sheep and goats. During the period of the project, about 4,125,000 cattle will be vaccinated against CBPP and a large number sheep and goats vaccinated against PPR.
He further stated that since Kano State government has two completed Animal Insemination centres at Kadawa and Makoda which lack equipment, “this project will equip and operationalize one of them, preferably the one at Kadawa, to enable it inseminate 25,000 cows yearly from project year II, targeting project beneficiaries within the Kadawa axis and other grazing reserves.”
The Project Coordinator also expressed optimism that the Project will go a long way in settling farmers/herders conflict, pointing out that Kano State has 1,450 km of major stock routes and 500 km of minor stock routes, “the project will support survey, demarcation, documentation and gazettement of these routes. Local teams comprising LGA representatives, Police, Ministry of Local government representatives, representatives of pastoralists will be formed and supported in LGAs where these routes pass to ensure smooth implementation.”
He noted that, “in order to improve the value of crops produced by farmers in Kano state, there is need to increase profit margin obtained by farmers from crops produced. This will be done through facilitating cooperative grain storage (aggregation centers) by farmers and seeking suitable markets. The project will, therefore, construct 500 tones storage facilities for Sorghum and cowpea at Danbatta, Dawakin Tofa, Minjibir, Gezawa Makoda Kunchi, Bichi and Tsanyanwa LGAs. For maize and rice, the facilities will be built at Rogo, Karaye, Kiru, Gwarzo, Kabo, Madobi, Garum Mallam, Kura, Bunkure, Rano, Kibiya, Tudun Wada and Doguwa LGAs and will be under the management of Sasakawa in Kano state. These grain storage facilities will be linked to off takers of these grains and the communities will be trained on cooperative operation of the storage facilities.”
According to him, “a total of 70 km of feeder roads (70km) will be constructed by the project in different parts of the State. These feeder roads will be built to facilitate economic activities such as movement of commodities and animals from farms to markets and to other parts of the State and vice versa. In Kano North, the roads from ‘Yandutse to Jinjimawa (8.35km) in Bichi LGA, Alkalawa to Dan-lsa (4km) in Rimin Gado LGA, Kabo to Sabuwar Unguwa (13.2km) in Kabo LGA and Gambawa to Yadai (6.72km) in Gabasawa LGA, will be constructed. In Kano South, the roads from Wasai to Baita (3.66km) in Gezawa LGA, Danin to Garko (10.4km) in Garko/Wudil LGAs, Kibiya to Gidan Duna (5.1km) in Kibiya LGA and Dinyar Madiga to Garandiya (9.034km) in Takai LGA will be constructed. While in Kano Central, the road from to Panshekara to Karshen Waya Road (4.5km) in Kumbotso LGA and Tanagar to Charka Road (5.0km) in Warawa LGA will be constructed.”