Rural farmers feed the nation, using traditional tools such as hoes and cutlasses. If empowered with modern tools food production in Nigeria will increase. They don’t have the money to buy a moderate tractor to assist them in tilling the soil, using hoes is tedious.
Therefore, they cultivate just a few portions of land manually. Our rural farmers have zero knowledge of soil treatment. Our rural farmers in Nigeria have zero knowledge about improved seeds, they are still replanting old generational seeds inherited from their ancestors.
For example, Wheat production/supply in Nigeria as of 2019 was said to be 0.6million tonnes, home demand alone was 4.7million metric tonnes. As a farmer and concerned citizen, I went further to research the huge deficit in wheat production.
The soil required was right, the weather setting in Nigeria was fantastic and the climate was 100 per cent favourable for wheat production. Unfortunately, access to quality seeds was the challenge. According to my research, wheat seeds need total replacement at least every 4 years of planting.
Image: Denison educating rural farmers about hybrid maize seeds
With the best of my knowledge, right from childhood, I have watched my parents recycle Maize, Rice, Tomato, Groundnuts, and yam seeds without thinking about the side effect of replanting old seeds. A typical Nigerian farmer will plant his wheat, nurture it, harvest, sell, dried part of the seeds and store for another planting season. This method has been into practice for years because our parents cultured us that way.
But this is 2020, things have changed. Our population then was minimal and the quantity of food produced was enough for everybody. Today in Nigeria and Africa, feeding a population of 1.3billion people with the exponential growth expected to hit 2billion by 2025, improved seeds are needed.
I am concerned and bothered about the volume of wheat produce in Nigeria today. How do we increase the production of wheat? The answer is simple, our farmers need quality seeds at an affordable rate.
Hybrid vegetable seeds have been a huge challenge to farmers in Nigeria.
This article is for everyone and farmers/ potential farmers will use this information as a yardstick to sail their agribusiness ship smoothly. Know this: Information Is All You Need To Excel In Your Business Career.
I had stressful but eureka moment last year(2019), sitting in a dome, listening to practical agriculturist sharing their agribusiness experience. Transferring quality information and I was shocked at new innovations and modern farming practices that the majority of Nigerians/African farmers aren’t aware of.
One is this terrible farming practice that we inherited from our forefather’s ignorantly and we are happily managing but is no longer helping matters in terms of food production. The practice reduces our expected yield every year by 50% or more but we don’t pay attention to details, so we feel is normal.
What is this Practice?
The method of Seed Selection. I am a victim of this ugly trend, therefore I will share my experience with you and If you are a victim, make corrections and if you aren’t a victim, preach the gospel to someone close to you.
Or better still share this article to reach a wider audience.
How Do A Typical African/Nigerian Farmer Select Seeds For Planting Purpose?
Here is the method majority plus I inclusive have been using all these years. All we do is go the farm, harvest those healthy, early, and good looking rice seeds, dehusk neatly, package and deposit into our store for next raining season.
Go to an open market, buy untreated seeds from farmers and replant on our farmland. These two methods are outdated but still fresh and widely practised by the majority of farmers in Africa and Nigeria in particular.
Inheritance is of higher value to a typical Nigerian, so we love to follow our parent’s method of seeds selection.
Now, at the Agribusiness Incubation Program, an expert from one of the seeds companies here in Nigeria spoke extensively about seeds selection. And today I am warning you “Never, Never, and Never again should you practice such a dirty method again after reading this message”
Buy new seeds every planting season!
YES. Don’t replant those seeds again, sell all and buy new hybrid seeds from a good seeds company around you and plant. Recycling those old seeds might give you good results, but you’ll lose more every harvest season.
Season1: You’ll able to cultivate 10 hectares of new hybrid seeds of maize and harvested 6 tonnes.
Season2: You replanted those old seeds(we call them grains now) on 20 hectares of land and your total harvest was only 10 tonnes.
Season3: Same seeds cultivated on 25 hectares you harvested only 12 tonnes.
A bad result for a smart farmer.
Bad result: It might impress you, but you lost over 2+ tonnes which is huge. Do you remember? Your efforts were doubled, which means your result suppose to multiply too.
That’s a simple illustration to explain the disservice farmers have been doing to themselves. As a smart farmer of the 21 century, change those seeds. Your parent’s seeds are too old and cannot respond to stimuli effectively.
The crux of the article is, “Cultivate only first generation of hybrid seeds” nothing less nothing more.
If you cultivating tomatoes, maize, pepper, carrots, and others, buy quality seeds. We have some hybrid seeds that are developed naturally to fight some pests, disease, and even weather changes.
We are in tough times predicted to face food insecurity, to combat and finally destroy this monster (Food Hunger), attention should be given to practices employ by our rural farmers when it comes to food production.
Food production is everybody business today. Play your part, maybe you should be a distributor of quality seeds to our rural farmers, or train them on current agricultural practices.