No fewer than 279, 995 farming families have benefited from the crop development programme of the African Development Bank (AfDB)-supported Community-Base Agriculture and Rural Development Project (CBARDP) in five states.

The Project Coordinator, Alhaji Ibrahim Arabi, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Bauchi on Thursday.

Arabi said the project was designed to improve crop productivity and better the livelihood of poor farmers and their families.

He said the benefiting states were Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna and Kwara.

The project coordinator said out of the 279,995 farming families, 14,863 were trained directly on best agricultural practice that assures high productivity.

He said the remaining 265,132 benefited through farm visits and field days.

“A total of 305 hectares of land were brought under cultivation by the lead farmers while an estimated 215,000 hectares was cultivated by other members of the rural communities.

“To achieve the desired result, 205.8 tonnes of fertilizers, 15 tonnes of improved seeds and 225 litres of pesticides and herbicide were distributed to the farmers.

“This was to achieve the project objective which is mainly to contribute to food security through increase crop productivity with a view to increase farmers’ living condition.

“This is in line with the Federal Government’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda,’’ he said.

The coordinator added that CBARDP had also initiated an outreach project designed to promote the adoption of improved technology with a view to boost agricultural production.

He said that the outreach project was headed by the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan.

IITA is doing the project alongside the National Agricultural Extension Research and Liaison Service (NAERLS) and the Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR), Samaru-Zaria.

Other relevant research institutes involved in the crop development programme, includes the Lake Chad Research Institute (LCRI), Maiduguri, and National Cereals Research Institute, Badeggi.

“The outreach project adopts demonstrations of improved technologies on farmers’ fields and field days as strategies to promote five staple crops, namely maize, cowpea, soya beans, yam and cassava.

“The result was so successful that crops yield doubled and in some cases tripled.

“With the use of the improved seeds and adoption of best agricultural practices, yield of maize doubled in Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe and Kwara.

“The yield ranged from an average of 1,500 kg per hectare to 2, 754 kg per hectare in Bauchi and up to 8000 kg per hectare in Gombe.

“Cowpea has seen a tremendous increase in Adamawa from 400kg to 2,500 kg per hectare, while in Bauchi it increases from 473 to 1, 017 kg per hectare in Kaduna.

“Soya beans were by far the most successful with its yield increasing by 333 per cent in Adamawa, 166 per cent in Bauchi.

“Gombe recorded 165 per cent increase, 249 in Kaduna, while in Kwara, it increases to 1, 733 per cent.

“The improvement in the productivity of these crops and demand for the seeds was so much that CBARDP introduced dry season community seed out growers programme in 2012/2013.’’

Source: NAN.

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