CDA Collaborates with Partners to Address Food Insecurity

CDA Collaborates with Partners to Address Food Insecurity

The Centre for Dryland Agriculture (CDA) has collaborated with its partners to address the challenges of food insecurity affecting Nigeria and other African countries. UK based LINKS Program and Silvex International have expressed their unwavering commitment to strengthening their partnership with the CDA by coming up with workable strategies to address the food shortages, which have been exacerbated by climate change.

Commemoration of World Food Day by CDA:   The Centre commemorated the 2021 World Food Day with a Symposium titled: Food Security in the Face of a Changing Climate: Northern Nigeria in Perspective. World Food Day is celebrated every year on October 16 to commemorate the date of the founding of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in 1945. The day is also observed by organizations like World Food Programme and International Fund for Agricultural Development. Since 1981, World Food Day has been celebrated under various themes to highlight the importance of food security, with most of them revolving around agriculture.

The Director of CDA, Professor Jibrin Mohammed Jibrin, in his remarks, said the centre joined the rest of the world to commemorate the day by organizing a symposium to discuss topical issues related to food security in Nigeria. He said the symposium would create awareness of the challenges being faced especially on food security and climate change.  CDA invited key stakeholders to brainstorm and come up with solutions that would be beneficial to policymakers and private sector actors to address these challenges.

In his presentation titled: 2021 Growing Season: Forecast, Reality and the Role of NIMET, the Director General of Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET), Professor Mansur Bako, said the seasonal climate prediction being produced by NIMET is in fulfillment of one of its core mandates. He stated that NIMET monitors weather and climate in Nigeria and provides authoritative meteorological information for sustainable development and safety of life and property.

Professor. Bako, who spoke virtually stated that the wide range of applications of NIMET’s products and services made weather and climate information a relevant input in agriculture and almost all the sustainable development goals, including education.

He said that most states in Nigeria experienced below normal rainfall this year, as had already been predicted by NIMET and communicated to the farmers for them to take appropriate measures.

Presenting an Overview of LINKS/FCDO Climate Smart Agriculture Projects, the Team Lead of the Links Project, Andrew Thorburn said the project aims to transform strategic value chains to improve resilience and reduce climate impact through systems of rice intensification, regenerative agriculture platforms, and sustainable fibre alternatives for cotton.

Speaking on behalf of Silvex International, the Managing Director, Abubakar Usman Adam, mentioned that the company is investing in farm estates for a newly launched program in Jigawa and Nasarawa states which is aimed at bridging the gap in food production efficiency amidst climate change challenges.

CDA Develops Seven (7) New Early Growth Groundnut Seeds for African Farmers

CDA Develops Seven (7) New Early Growth Groundnut Seeds for African Farmers

The Centre for Dryland Agriculture (CDA) of Bayero University (BUK) in Kano (Nigeria) has developed seven early growth groundnut seeds for farmers. The centre also unveiled improved seed varieties of sorghum, beans and millet at the centre’s Farmers’ Field Day held on Wednesday, 6th October, 2021.

The Field Day was aimed at showcasing the newly improved seedlings developed by the centre to farmers and extension workers in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.

Several factors have been identified as the reason for the decline in groundnut production in Nigeria such as drought, rosette virus, general neglect of agriculture due to oil boom, and lack of organized input. However, the CDA in collaboration with International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Zaria, and Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR), sponsored by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation took the challenge to revive the production of groundnut by providing new improved seeds to farmers for sustainable production under the AVISA Project.

According to the Director of CDA, Professor Jibrin Muhammad Jibrin, the new seed varieties are drought resistant and if properly used, will help Nigeria, and by extension, Africa, to achieve food sufficiency.

“The seeds are pests and diseases resistant, grow early and lead to bumper harvests. If these seed varieties are used, farmers have the potential of yielding bigger harvests from the same lands they are using the traditional seed varieties. The groundnut we developed for instance has the dual purpose of more crop yield and bigger leaves that could be used as animal feed,” Professor Jibrin added.

Professor Jibrin Muhammad Jibrin image
Professor Jibrin Muhammad Jibrin

The centre director, Prof. Jibrin M. Jibrin stated that “the centre has already adopted about 22 communities from the university’s neighborhood as models for testing the new seeds.” The Principal Investigator of the Project, Professor Sanusi Gaya Mohammed, in his remarks, said that through their research process, they screen the seeds and come up with those that will be given to seed companies to multiply their production for farmers use.

Professor Mohammed, the Deputy Director of Training at CDA, mentioned that apart from groundnut seeds, the CDA has been supporting the farmers with cowpea, beans, and millet seeds which have significantly improved their yields.

On her part, the Deputy Director, Outreach and Publications, Professor Amina Mustapha, said that the AVISA Project is one of many outreach programmes the centre runs, alongside collaborations with many partners in Nigeria and around the world.

Prof. Mustapha said that the CDA has been engaging its 22 adopted companies with modern agricultural farming methods, empowerment of improved seeds, as well as skills and training that improve their production and expand their awareness. She said the centre would continue to give emphasis to its outreach activities.

Professor Amina Mustapha

The Country Director of ICRISAT, Dr. Hakeem Ajeigbe urged the farmers to critically look at the seeds in order to give their feedback to the researchers. He said it would really benefit the research activities.

Also speaking, Professor  Yeye of Institute of Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University, (ABU) Zaria, said the AVISA Project aims to improve the research activities through the use of various tools and application to enhance the process. It also aims to provide the seeds to farmers and educate them on the use and application in order to improve the yields.

Others who spoke were Professor Daniel Aba of IAR, Dr. Abou Togola, and Ado Garba from the Kano Agricultural and Rural Development Agency (KNARDA).

Farmers interviewed expressed appreciation to the CDA and its partners for helping with the improved seeds. They expressed optimism that they would adopt the new improved seeds so that the production of groundnut and other crops would be on higher scale in Nigeria.

Centre for Dryland Agriculture and JR Biotek Foundation Conduct Training Workshop on Molecular Laboratory

Centre for Dryland Agriculture and JR Biotek Foundation Conduct Training Workshop on Molecular Laboratory

The Centre for Dryland Agriculture (CDA) and JR Biotek Foundation conducted a hands-on plant molecular biology laboratory training workshop held at the CDA from 28th to 2nd July, 2021. 

The training workshop funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund was part of JR Biotek Foundation’s Reach and Teach Science in Africa flagship program which aims to advance agricultural research and innovation to achieve food security in Africa. 

Speaking through zoom platform, the founder and President of JR Biotech Foundation, Dr. Carol Ibe expressed pleasure in welcoming outstanding early-career agricultural researchers from Nigerian universities and research institutes to participate in this high quality laboratory training facilitated by excellent researchers.  

She said the training workshop would avail the participants the opportunities to learn new transferable scientific laboratory skills and connect with other researchers, possibly leading to new professional relationships and collaborations that promote new avenues and perspectives to solving Africa’s challenges. 

According to her, JR Bioteck Foundation’s vision is to train, inspire and empower Africa’s present and future research and bio-industry leaders who can effectively tackle food and nutrition insecurity on the continent.  Dr Ibe further commended the immense contribution of CDA, saying that “we can work together to transform Africa’s agricultural sector into a productive, effective, and efficient sector that provides useful opportunities and practical solutions to sustainable food production.” 

In his welcoming remarks, the Director, Centre for Dryland Agriculture (CDA), Professor Jibrin Mohammed Jibrin, said the training is apt and timely considering the geometrical increase of population without corresponding food production in Africa and the persisting food loss. “We have problems of pest and diseases which devastate our crops. In Africa the loss is so high.” 

The Director further said that there is a need for cutting edge science and knowledge of molecular biology to address some of the problems that constrain food production which the training workshop provided. He urged the participants to learn well and apply the knowledge into practice to help solve the perennial Africa’s food security challenges. 

“You can also train others so that we have mass human resources that can assist in tackling our problems,” said the Director CDA, Professor Jibrin. 

The main objective of the laboratory hands-on session is to demonstrate the basic principles of molecular biology, including the Polymerase Chain Reaction (a technique used to amplify genomic DNA from plant or animal tissues), complimentary DNA synthesis by reverse transcriptase, real-time or RT-PCR, and the phenotypic characterization of root infecting mutualistic fungi in maize and peanut. 

In addition to the hands-on training is a Bio innovation for Africa Pitch Challenge, developed to encourage African scientists and stakeholders to work more collaboratively to develop solutions to some of the most pressing challenges hampering Africa’s sustainable development. This initiative is the 4th edition whilst previous editions have led to the creation of innovative projects (in Africa) that are making a huge impact on smallholder farmers and farming systems in the region.    

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