USAID, IITA Agric Intervention: Farmers record bumper harvests in Gombe
Some farmers in Akko Local Government Area of Gombe State have commended the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for supporting them through its agriculture intervention programme.
The USAID programme under the “Feed The Future, Nigeria Integrated Agriculture Activity” is being implemented by International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
The beneficiaries, who spoke during a brown field day activity held in Angwan Dan Kwali community in Kumo, Akko LGA, on Monday, said they recorded bumper harvests during this year’s wet season.
They said the support from USAID and IITA through improved seedlings, technologies, innovations and the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) given to them had boosted their productivity.
Malam Isa Saidu, a farmer from the community, said he was supported with improved maize seeds, which he cultivated after many farmers in his community had planted theirs for about three weeks.
Saidu said his decision to embrace the new innovation by USAID and IITA was the best decision he had taken since he started the vocation several years ago.
“Imagine the harvest I got, it was huge and I am so surprised by the early maturing nature of the seeds; I planted three weeks late but harvested before others even with better yields.
“Farmers who are still using the old grains were surprised with the bumper harvest and how my maize farm turned out good,” said Saidu.
Mrs Lois Adamu, another farmer, said the difference between the usual grains and the improved seeds from USAID and IITA could not be compared in terms of productivity per hectares.
Adamu said: “What I received (seeds) from USAID and IITA has given me bumper harvest and hope of escaping poverty because I recorded far more than I use to get.
“My maize farm was better than those of others; the maize plant was even taller and far out-grew other maize plants cultivated in my community.”
On her part, Hajia Aishatu Jibril, said the USAID support was a surprise package for members of her community because many had planted their grains before the intervention came.
Jibril said in her 20 years of farming, she had never recorded the kind of bumper harvest: “I can tell you I harvested over 25 bags of maize as against the less than 10 I recorded in the past.”
Also, Hajia Asabe Manga, said she was assisted with Soya beans seeds, which she cultivated and in two months her harvest was ready and she got 15 bags to her surprise.
Manga said all farmers assisted by USAID and IITA were happy because they had better returns from their investments through the support.
“We have been empowered and I can tell you that our income will increase with this kind of harvest,” said Manga.
On his part, Malam Ahmed Mohammed, the village head of Angwan Dan Kwali, commended USAID and IITA for the intervention, adding that if enhanced, it would help address food insecurity and reduce poverty in the state and country.
Mohammed appealed to USAID to increase funding for the programme so that more farmers would be engaged to support the government’s food security effort.
The reports gathered that the programme is promoting maize, rice, cowpea and soya beans in Gombe State and is being implemented in Akko, Billiri and Kaltungo LGAs of the state.
The field day, which is expected to continue on Tuesday and Wednesday in the remaining LGAs, is a platform to show farmers the technology that IITA is promoting with regard to improved seedlings, agricultural practices, fertilisers and spacing.
Monday’s event took place at Angwan Dan Kwali community where three cowpea demonstration plots with two of the plots having improved varieties and the third a local variety were used while farmers were made to see the differences.
The event also provided farmers the opportunity to discuss and share information on the latest developments in cowpea and maize farming, including innovative techniques, seed varieties, and fertilisers application.