By Luka Daniel (Bauchi),
About 10,000 Farmers in Bauchi State are set to be trained on modern farming techniques in order to boost the Agricultural Sector, this farming season and beyond.
Barrister Yakubu Bello Kirfi, who is the state Commissioner of Agriculture, gave this indication yesterday in an interview with Reality Newspaper’s Correspondent in his office.
He maintained that Governor, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar's administration, was poised to ensuring massive food production in the state hence, his resolve to collaborate with the government of Morocco,
towards boosting the Agricultural sector.
"We are mindful of the demands of our farmers therefore, we usually plan ahead. This season, we intend to do as we did last year because if you may recall, last year, before the rainy season, we distributed fertilizer and each Local Government had four trucks before we flag off the sale except Bauchi, because of its population, it was allocated 24 trucks, so there was no shortage", the Commissioner said.
"Last week we went to Morocco together with His Excellency. You know they have the largest deposits of raw material that is used for blending fertilizer. So, we agreed with them on the plan to expand our fertilizer plant. Secondly, we want to even boost our agriculture but, our main problem is knowing the soil that is fertility.
They have a system whereby they use mobile techniques to study soil. It is a mobile Lab. They gave us the vehicle and then we are going to train 10,000 staff to work with the vehicle", the Commissioner pointed out.
Yakubu explained that, "the school mobile lab has the capacity to test soil texture, to detect its suitability to particular soil and the type of crop to be planted, the quantity and type of fertilizer to be applied and the amount of tones of grains to produce per hectare of land".
According to the Commissioner, the training, which is expected to start in April this year, would last for three weeks, adding that adequate provision has been made for the training, which would be carried out in batches and will be funded by the government of Morocco.
Barrister Bello said Bauchi state government in collaboration with Mohammed VI Marakesh University, Morocco has also approved scholarship for Bauchi state indigenes to undergo a study on Mobile laboratory that would enable them acquire knowledge on how to test soil so as to, detect its suitability for any type of crop to be planted.
He added that the state government has procured tractors and it also intend to buy smaller farming implements for both planting, weeding, ploughing and even harvesting to ease production cost for farmers in state.
According to Bello, "if you have a machine that you can plant two hectares today, you have a machine that you can weed two hectares today, you have a machine that you can harvest two hectares, so you see that time frame is short, agriculture is time related adventure.
“If you have to do something now you have to do it now otherwise, you wouldn't see the efficacy of it. For instance, if it is time for you to apply fertilizer you have to do it at the right time other wise you will not see the efficiency of it despite the fact that you have applied fertilizer. If you apply it on time you will see the difference".
The Commissioner, who said that the state government has made adequate provision of fertilizer and other farming inputs more than that of last year due to the high demand for the commodity explained that, this year Bauchi State Government has made available more than ten thousand tones of fertilizer for the farmers to ensure bumper harvest.
For the tractors, "just like I said when you came in, I was just signing the document, that one also depends on the demand but, the micro implements we are getting more request from the farmers.
He added that a system of cluster farming would be evolved by the government, where farmers are required to form some kind of group for them to be allocated those farming machines instead of them to go and hire them.
"You have these machines, it belongs to your group. So the loan is in respect of your group so that you will use that implement for your group at a subsidized rate".