OCP Africa, a fertiliser company, has launched an agricultural intervention programme in partnership with Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, tagged, “Agribooster Campus Offer” to assist about 5,000 maize farmers within the university and its immediate environs.
As part of the programme launch, the Faculty of Agriculture, ABU, Zaria, nominated 15 of its postgraduate students to be trained and equipped by OCP Africa on agriculture extension skills in order to reach the target 5,000 farmers, teaching them best practices in the application of various farm inputs to maximise their yield in maize cultivation.
The OCP Africa Country Manager, Mr. Caleb Usoh, said the, “Agribooster Campus Offer”, the first of its kind for Nigerian universities, will provide the farmers with fertilisers, seeds, and agro-chemicals; funding through its project partner, ABU Microfinance Bank Limited; and training for the postgraduate extension workers who will, in turn, train the farmers.”
According to Usoh, “we are very positive that this programme will significantly expand the yields of these farmers, based on the quality of the seeds and fertilisers we have brought in. The students who are going to become agri-promoters in the different villages where these 5,000 framers are operating will create awareness for them in the proper use of farm inputs. With this intervention by OCP Africa and its partners, the farmers will be able to get the right types of fertilisers and other critical inputs in sufficient quantities, and at the right time.”
The Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, ABU Zaria, Prof. Olufunmilola Alabi, said, “we are happy that OCP Africa has chosen our school to begin the roll out of its Agribooster Campus Offer in Nigerian universities. The selected postgraduate students are being trained to become extension workers who will work with the farmers within our immediate environs. We expect that this intervention would increase the maize yield drastically for the farmers concerned, and it will translate into more money for them.”
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Kaduna State, and representative of the state governor at the event, Alhaji Abdulkadir Kasim, expressed optimism that Agribooster Campus Offer will be a powerful complement towards the transformation of agriculture in Kaduna State.
He added: “We congratulate the company and its partners for putting together this intervention, which will ultimately help our state to move agriculture away from subsistence levels and make it a more profitable business.”
One of the ABU Zaria postgraduate extension workers, Mr. Elijah Ogunshola, said that with the training he has undergone both in the classroom as well as what he has now got from OCP Africa in the past six months, the yield of farmers under his watch would significantly increase. He said, “it is high time we brought our local farmers up to speed with modern practices, and by God’s grace, we will try our best to see that we put smiles on the farmers’ faces, helping them to make farming a more profitable venture than what they are used to.”