A German agency, German International Corporation (GIZ) or (Deutsche Gallschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit), has launched a radio programme in Plateau State to help transform fast staple food production and create employment along the potato value chain in Nigeria.
The German agency started the programme in partnership with Farm Radio International and Green Innovation Center for Agriculture and Food Sector in Nigeria. It is also supported by the Plateau State Government.
The programme was launched on Thursday in Jos, Plateau State. To broadcast in Hausa language, the programme is tagged “Dankali: Rumbum Arsiki”, which in Hausa means “Potato is the Store House of Wealth.”
It made its debut between 18hous and 19hours GMT on Plateau State Radio Corporation 90.5 FM on Thursday. There will be repeat broadcast every Friday for one year at the pilot stage.
Speaking at the launch, the Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, said the Farm Radio Programme initiative will complement his government’s efforts to eradicate poverty and hunger in the state and the nation as whole.
In his address delivered by his deputy, Sonni Tyoden, the governor said: “because of the importance government placed on agriculture, the partnership between GIZ and the state government has led to the training of 20,000 potato farmers in both group agricultural practices and farmers business school”.
“The state government has in addition recently made fertilizer and other farm inputs available at the subsidized rate for farmers for the 2019 cropping season. Besides, other farmers friendly policies introduced to ensure food sufficiency in the state,” he added.
Mr Lalong advised the private sector to embrace the initiative. “This will ensure the programme’s continuity for the sustainability of food security in the country as” it is another significant milestone in agricultural revolutionary policy campaign,” he said.
The Country Director GIZ, Hans-Ludwig Bruns, said the main purpose of the farm radio initiative is to build the capacity of small holder farmers to tool trainees projects.
He said since 2016, 190,000 farmers have been reached to tool trainees in the field of good agricultural practices and farmers business school.
“For example, coming back to Plateau State, the project has so far reached 21,000 Irish potato farmers since 2015.
“We also need to raise awareness of our supporters groups of farmers and this we do to channel through the radio because we know that radio is used by a lot of people in Nigeria.
“This is why we wil like to share our success stories as well as sharing information associated about farmer business school also to agricultural best practices,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, the director of Federal Department of Agricultural Extension (FDAE), Kariam Babangida, said the Agricultural Extension Farm Radio programme will further build on the achievements made so far among potato farmers in Plateau State.
She advised the farmer groups and other stakeholders targeted by the interactive radio programme to improve on their agricultural practices.
Also, the Country Representative, Farmers Radio International, Benjamin Fiafor, reassured the farmers about the commitment to make the programme work to produce necessary impact for the projects.
He said as part of the project, the organisation had carried out “informative research” to learn what the farmers want from the radio programme.
“It is to improve upon the work that the farmers are already doing and to bring innovation as extension staffs are already doing on the field. The radio program is coming to enhance it,” he said.
Phebe Ibrahim , the head of women potato farmers in the state, encouraged women and the youth to be serious about farming business, as she spoke of her capacity built in agriculture value chain by GIZ training programmes.
Farm Radio International was established nearly 40 years ago in Zambia with the aim to help rural farmers in Africa. Currently, it is present in 40 countries in Africa, including Nigeria.
The Green Innovation Centre was established by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to use innovative methods, techniques and forms of organisation to develop the agriculture and food sector. It is currently present in 15 countries.