In Nigeria maize is a critical staple food and feed crop. The crop is cultivated across all ecologies in the country, however, production potential is highest in the Guinea savanna zone and the wetter Sudan savanna.
The TAMASA Nigeria project commenced activities in 2015 with conduct of meetings and discussions with key partners and stakeholders to solicit their understanding of the project’s vision and objectives as well as their cooperation and assistance in the implementation of the project activities.
The project is currently being implemented within 3 focal states: Kano, Kaduna and Katsina. Within these states, we are conducting socio-economic panel surveys as well as agronomic and geospatial research activities in specific Local Government Areas (LGAs) including, Makarfi, Lere, Soba, Ikara, Doguwa, Tudun wada, Bunkure, Funtua, Bakori, and Dandume. The results from these studies will assist the project and partners to co-develop portable tools and software that will help in taking informed agronomic decisions such as fertilizer recommendation, varietal selection, fertilizer blending, etc.
It is believed that with some training, extension agents and other end users will find these products user-friendly and beneficial for making decisions regarding efficient use of agro-inputs such as fertilizers, manure, and choice of appropriate agronomic practices for increased maize productivity. At the end of the 2018, TAMASA hopes to increase farmers’ maize yield by 75%.
Strategies, Activities and Challenges
TAMASA has adopted a use-case model or approach that enables users to examine production/system challenges and options for solving them. By engaging both SG Global 2000 and Doreo Partners in needs assessment, we identified a fertilizer recommendation tool and variety selection tool as key instruments that will improve extension delivery services within Nigeria’s maize-based system.
TAMASA in Nigeria
From the project’s inception, sustained efforts have been made to earn the support and cooperation of the key partners and service providers. Similar efforts were made to engage other stakeholders that have common or related goal with the TAMASA project. Our outreach to partners and stakeholders in focused on generating interests towards co-development of tools and commitment to own and use the tools, when developed. We have successfully created awareness through contacts, meetings, trainings and workshops, which we intend to intensify in the years ahead. Similarly, we have conducted field days and built good interactions with host communities as we implement field trials and surveys across the core maize belt of Nigeria.
Several trainings and workshops have been organised to improve the capacity of the project entities including scientists, technicians, and technologists, from IITA, BUK, National institutions and other collaborators. Three workshops were conducted on understanding the concept and application of Nutrient expert for maize fertilizer recommendation. Early 2016, a workshop was organized for the implementation of variety selection protocol and data collection. A training workshop was organized for TAMASA support staff on the use of ODK and GPS to conduct agronomy and socio-economic surveys. Trainings were conducted for ADPs Extension Agents on proper conduct of field experiments. Similarly, a workshop was conducted on proper UAV flight missions. Currently, three PhD candidates from the Bayero University, Kano and one candidate from ABU, Zaria, in KUT, Leuven, Belgium, studying predictive agronomy, crop nutrition, geo-spatial science, and socioeconomics.
The TAMASA Nigeria Project has following key partners; Centre for Dryland Agriculture (CDA), Bayero University, Kano (BUK); Sasakawa Global 2000 (SG 2000); Doreo Partners, NOTORE and SeedCo. BUK is the implementer of the project field investigations in the country with some support from IIAT. Both SG 2000 and Doreo Partners are service providers whose business is to offer good extension delivery services to their clientele farmers in their areas of operation. Their initial interest in TAMASA for FR and VT is to enable them to efficiently deliver their service so that farmers attain higher maize productivity and return on investment.
BUK is implementing the NOTs, VTs, PTs and APS across the focal states in collaboration with the extension agents of the service provider (SG 2000 and Doreo Partners) that are the primary end users of the TAMASA tools.
The project has enjoyed tremendous support from these partners in addition to a lot of support from many government and non-governmental agencies. To achieve greater impact, the project strives to build stronger partnerships and linkages with other stakeholders on the maize value chain as well as collaborate with sister maize projects/research institutes the country such as SARD-SC, OFRA, NAERLS, and IAR.