A Farmer Looking Keenly at a 5kg Sachet of Aflasafe in Ogbomoso

Scaling Up Maize Production In Oyo State

A project on improving maize production is underway in Ogbomoso and Oyo, Oyo State, South West, Nigeria. The project called IFDC/2Scale is partly funded by the International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC). IFDC is partnering with relevant agribusiness related organizations involved in the maize value chain for this project. They include Ogbomoso Ise Oluwa Ni Farmers’ Multipurpose Cooperative Limited and Oyo Maize Farmers Group. OneLife Initiative for Human Development, Ibadan, a non-governmental social enterprise has been interfacing between the maize farmers’ cooperatives and IFDC in its capacity as a Business Support Service (BSS) provider. OneLife creates the environment for cooperation and competition in the Agri-business Clusters (ABC) while also coordinating the interaction between all the actors on the maize value chains in these two locations.

Dr. Femi Kuti during his session on Aflatoxin, farmers' Health and Occupational Safety in Oyo

Dr. Femi Kuti during his session on Aflatoxin, farmers’ Health and Occupational Safety in Oyo

As a part of the strategic take off of the project, sensitization workshops for bulk purchase pooling and cluster dynamics were organized at two different locations: Ogbomoso and Oyo. The first of the sensitization workshops held at the Ogbomoso Ise Oluwa Ni Farmers’ Cooperative Building, Arowomole, Ogbomoso on Saturday, July 12, 2014. The second held at Auto Bouncy Guest House, Owode, Oyo on Thursday, July 17, 2014. There were 49 participants at both workshops. These participants included maize farmers, input suppliers, maize processors, representative of micro finance banks and marketers. Presentations were made during the workshop by maize farmers on their experiences and challenges on the field. This was followed with presentation on maize agronomy to provide a comparison between farmer’s experience on the field and new scientific evaluations in agricultural science as it concerns maize. There were also presentations made by key experts such as a medical practitioner from the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan on occupational health, crop and food contamination in maize production. The focus of the medical presentation was on reducing the risk of a fungus contamination called aflatoxin which is a threat to public health (sometimes assuming epidemic proportion). Presentations were also made on the variety of other maize farming input (chemicals, fertilizers, seeds etc.) and better ways of maize production as an agribusiness.

 

OneLife's Programmes Manager engaging with the audience at the Workshop in Ogbomoso

OneLife’s Programmes Manager engaging with the audience at the Workshop in Ogbomoso

At the opening of the workshops, Mr ‘Sola Fagorusi, team leader from OneLife Initiative for Human Development, Ibadan emphasized that the goal of the activity  is to stimulate discussion and identify gaps in maize production which can be addressed by  funding, technical support and links to farming inputs actors to be provided on the project. At the end of the workshops, substantial lessons related to maize crop and food health were well exposed. Aflatoxin contamination of maize crop and food, in particular was well discussed. Dr. Adenekan Osiyemi and Dr. Femi Kuti intimated the workshop participants of the disease dangers to human, livestock and public health. They also advocated the best ways to prevent the spread of aflatoxin contamination on the field which include proper care of crops before and after harvest.

 

This phase of the project was rounded off by the introduction of some promising agribusiness opportunities and resources to the farmers. This ranged from Aflasafe, a biological agent developed by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA for aflatoxin control in maize farming to arrangements of maize supply to marketers. The next phase of the project continues later this month. The team leader, Mr. Fagorusi in concluding this phase explained to the actors that OneLife’s interaction and cooperation with farmers has led to the establishment of a demonstration farm to test three maize varieties in Ogbomoso and also let farmers see how Aflasafe is applied. A contract for the supply of 30 MT of maize by the end of the present planting season has also been secured for the farmers by OneLife to further emphasis the need for farmers to find a market first before heading to the field to produce. The power of social media, through the use of twitter’s hashtag #MaizeClusterActors was also harnessed during the workshop.

 

 

To learn more about the project, please email sola@onelifeinitiative.org.

RuralReporters.com is a news platform with in-depth coverage of under-reported issues in rural communities in Nigeria and across Africa. We report on Agriculture, Health, Women and generally on Rural Development. To pitch a story idea or submit a report, please email: editor@ruralreporters.com

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