By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
Following new and modern approaches to agricultural practices, the Federal Government, Monday, started potato revolution with capacity building of 150 Irish-potato farmers in Toro Local Government Area of Bauchi State.
This was made known by the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Federal Ministry of Agriculuture and Rural Development, Hajia Karima Babangida, while declaring open the 5-day capacity building workshop in Toro communities of Toro LGA.
Babangida who was represented by State Director Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Bauchi State, Iliya Daniel Abarshi, said the workshop is to re-educating Irish potato farmers on farming as a business rather than being a culture.
She said: “It is important to know that FBS is capable of starting a potato revolution here in Bauchi State especially in Toro LGA and other communities in the state that has potentials to grow potato during dry season.
“This capacity building workshop on Farmers Business School (FBS) with focus on re-educating Irish potato farmers on farming as business rather than been a ‘culture’.
“The purpose of this 5 day workshop is to bring together Irish potato farmers in class of 30 each to build their capacity on simple farming business models and concept in order to increase their technical know -how on farming practices so they can earn more income from doing the same job.
“You would agree with me that for decades farming generally has been practiced from the perception of been a culture of our fore fathers instead of been viewed as a profession.
“In the pursuit of food security and nutrition for our country, and if we are to achieve these, we must begin to change the narratives about farming as culture to farming as a business.
“It is in this regard that Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with German International Corporation (GIZ) has been a strong advocate for this paradigm shift in our agriculture.
“Further to the foregoing, it’s a known fact that Irish potato is a premium cash crop sought after by many here in the country and other West African countries.”
She also charged participants to make good use of the training to learn and adopt new farming business innovations that would be handed over to them within the period of the 5-day workshop which covers 12 modules with different topics and practical through participatory approach.
It will be recalled that Potato farmers in Plateau State who were the first to benefit from FBS have profited immensely from the adoption of these new farming business innovations.
“I have no doubt the same will be the outcome here after the workshop is over. FMARD is poised to build the capacity of farmers in other states with potentials to grow Irish potato with new innovations and techniques on GAP and FBS to ensure productivity and income generation”, she said.
However, she expressed optimism, “I hope that by the end of this 5-day workshop the purpose for organising this FBS training would have been achieved and Potato farmers in Toro would have been equipped with the requisite skills and knowledge on farming as a business for increased productivity and income. The 60 participants would also be able to spread the knowledge on FBS to other farmers within the communities.
“It is expected that this 5-day workshop would avail all participants the opportunity to master the basic farming business models to grow their potato business.”