Nigerian farmers often struggle to make the most of the spaces they cultivate. While they might receive help with fertilizers and extension services (if they’re lucky), they still can’t harvest as much as they would want from their relatively small farmlands. The country appears to be producing less per square meter of farmland for many crops than many other nations.
It turns out that a lot of the seeds our farmers use aren’t yielding that much anyway. Unless they’re getting supplied with improved seed varieties, they’ll keep harvesting quantities of produce too little to take care of their private needs. They’ll remain poor, and won’t have enough savings to expand their farming practice. It’s a self-reinforcing cycle that haunts a huge swathe of our agricultural sector today.
Companies like Value Seeds are stepping up to erase this problem and its poverty inflicting consequences. They’re researching and turning out improved seed varieties that germinate to produce higher amounts of output from local farms. And they’re making these enhanced varieties available to the people who need them the most- farmers deep in the country’s agricultural heartlands.
Value Seeds was incorporated in 2009. At the start, its co-founders, George Zangir and Cassandra George, had to run it with a limited amount of funds. But they stayed with the project, driven by the conviction that they could help solve the problems small-holder farmers faced with procuring the right seeds. In time, government financing programs began to spring up, and they were able to access the support they needed to scale.
In the decade since it began churning out and distributing seeds, it has positively impacted the lives of thousands of crop growers. Thanks to its collection of upgraded cereal and legume seeds, vegetables and tuber crops, many farming families and communities have seen significant improvements in their nutrition, the quantities of produce they make, and the financial gains they’re able to realize from their occupation.
Apart from their research and distribution activities, Value Seeds has also trained farmers in best agronomic practices, a project it has undergone as part of its commercial extension service. This service started off in 2016 and has thus far targeted over 15,000 farmers in Benue, Kaduna, Kano, and Katsina states. The company is currently pushing for an expansion of its programs to other states in the country.
The next frontier for Value Seeds appears to be the South West, where millions of farmers also have a hard time getting the type of input that could drive up the level of output from their fields. They hope to reach crop growers in the states of the region with packaged seeds, dressing material, and extension services.
In the meantime, the company continues to stretch its sphere of activity, and help on Nigeria’s drive towards a more self-sufficient agricultural sector.
Source: Value Seed Ltd