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‘Walk With The Farmer’: Sasakawa-KNARDA-KSADP Model for Achieving Food Security, An Experiment Awaiting Scalability

The Oasis Reporters

December 11, 2023







Dutse airport in Jigawa State that was once a part of Kano State covered by KNARDA is one of Nigeria’s least busy airports.
It awaits commercial agricultural scalability to kickstart flights taking export produce to various destinations in the world.

Prof MK Othman

Agriculturally speaking, Kano has been a lucky state. Four decades ago, a no-nonsense and visionary governor, Police commissioner Audu Bako of blessed memory, built a multi-million Naira Tiga dam with a capacity of 1.9 billion cubic meters of water through direct labor. Then, it was the biggest dam in Nigeria.

The dam was built to irrigate 64,000 hectares of land and supply water to several communities. In addition to the Tiga Dam, Audu Bako equally built the Thomas Dambatta and Minjibir dams, irrigation schemes, and the Kafin Chiri dam.

A decade later, under the democratic dispensation, another visionary governor, the charismatic Abubakar Rimi, emerged with an insatiable appetite for developing agriculture and rural development.

He built over ten dams across Kano State, and four of such dams are located along Dayi – Gwarzo – Kano Road, which is evidence of his excellent stewardship.

Still, in the early 1990s, when some states with privileged information of Sasakawa Global 2000 (SG 2000) entry into Nigeria were foot-dragging to host SG 2000, Kano state went the extra mile and courted to accommodate and partner with it.

That made Kano state the first beneficiary of SG 2000 interventions in Nigeria.
SG 2000, later transformed into the Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA), a product of intense discussion, negotiations, and strenuous effort by three influential personalities focused on eradicating hunger and poverty in Africa.

Each of these personalities had reached the zenith of his career but found humanitarian service an excellent vocation to add to his resume.

The three men were Mr. Ryoichi Sasakawa (deceased), a first-class global multi-billionaire philanthropist, Dr Norman Borlaug (deceased), a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and President Jimmy Carter, former President of the USA.

SAA came to Africa in 1986 and Nigeria in 1992.

Nigeria’s food production had been falling behind demand for a number of decades due to a combination of deteriorating soil fertility and rapid population increase that has overwhelmed traditional agricultural methods.



Grains like maize in addition to sorghum, millet, guinea corn, rice etc are staple in Kano and Jigawa states.

The majority of governments in Nigeria have either ignored or pursued unrealistic, idealistic development goals, despite the fact that 70–85% of the country’s population works in agriculture.

The population in Nigeria increased from 45 million people in 1960 at the time of the country’s independence to over 200 million people by January 2023

From 1992 to date, Kano state has been at the forefront of Nigeria’s SAA interventions.

The climax was when SAA provided robust technical support in 2020 that enabled the state to secure financial support from the Islamic Development Bank and Lives and Livelihoods Funds (LLF) to implement the multi-million US Dollar Kano State Agro-Pastoral Development Project (KSADP).

KSADP was designed as a multifaceted food security, poverty alleviation, job creation, and conflict mitigation strategy between farmers and herders.

The project is aimed at the sustainable development of livestock and crop-selected value chains, which started in 2021 and will end in 2025 and reach out to 450,000 smallholder farmers.

As the project technical partner, SAA delivers effective extension services through increased access to inputs, value addition, agri-business development, and capacity building of farmers in production, postharvest operation, and market access across the selected crops value-chain. The crops and livestock were strategically chosen to meet food and nutrition security components.

The crops are rice, maize, sorghum, and vegetables (tomato, cabbage, and onion). The crop component of the project stands on three pillars: regenerative agriculture, nutrition-sensitive agriculture, and market-oriented agriculture.

The project develops agro-pastoral production systems on livestock that cover production, processing, and retailing. Almost three years into the project, what are the project’s achievements?

SAA, known for its meticulous performance and target achievement in project execution, was tasked to develop the skill and increase the capacity and productivity of 450,000 direct and millions of indirect beneficiaries across the state’s 44 local government areas (LGAs). SAA went to work with alacrity, guided by its modus operandi of timeliness, thoroughness, aptness, and dedication.

First, SAA identified, mobilized, and sensitized relevant stakeholders – input suppliers, service providers, marketers, produce off-takers, research institutes, and community leaders.

The project was launched, and an innovation platform was created as part of the community sensitization strategy and sense of ownership.

After sites’ selection for the project implementation, pre-, mid, and post-season training was vigorously conducted, followed by hands-on field demonstrations of various technologies from production to utilization. Group farms and demonstration plots were supplied with relevant inputs, improved technologies, and practices for optimum yields.

SAA’s famous slogan, “walk with the farmer,” makes extension agents follow farmers in all farm operations “bumper-to-bumper” with the guidance of a cropping calendar, which is religiously adhered to.

Thus, farmers and extension agents have no breathing space until the season ends. Under SAA’s intervention, farming is strictly treated as a business model while avoiding all possible risks.

SAA developed private extension service providers for project sustainability and named them “community-based facilitators (CBFs)” among the literate and unemployed youths from the beneficiary communities. The CBFs are empowered with regular training, linkages, and logistics support.

In the two and a half years of KSADP implementation in the 44 LGAs of Kano state, SAA has successfully achieved more than 70% of the project targets in all components.

Among the achievable milestones, the project targeted 450,000 farmers and has benefitted 366,000 farmers (81%), targeted 800 women on nutrition and income generation access, and achieved 91.5% (732 women).

Again, the project targeted continuous capacity building and empowerment of 540 CBFs, 270 AE, and 450 Agro dealers, which were all achieved (100%).

Similarly, the project succeeded in all the targets (100%) in establishing 3,615 demonstration plots of half a hectare in all the project sites across 44 LGAs and procuring 220 motorcycles distributed to the EAs.

The project has over 100 milestones, of which over 50% were completed and achieved, while the rest will be performed in the next year, more than 12 months before the end of the project.

Surprisingly, the project is making an overwhelming achievement at the budgeted cost despite the increase in the inflation rate.

On principle, SAA is highly mindful of the project’s cost-effectiveness.

The outcomes of the KSADP project implementation are superb, astonishing, and impactful on the livelihood of farmers.

Yields of rice and maize increased on average from 2.3 and 2.8 tons per hectare to 6.4 and 6.8 tons per hectare, respectively.

The beneficiaries generate seasonal incomes between ₦500,000 and ₦1,000,000 per hectare among all the crop farmers, and ditto for livestock beneficiaries.

Millions of indirect beneficiaries are found along the livestock and crop value chains.

SAA is an international NGO with its headquarters in Japan. Still, the personnel behind its titanic success in the KSADP project are all Nigerians working in Nigeria and making the most cherished and ideal dream of Nigeria’s unity in diversity. These are people from different corners of Nigeria, harmoniously and dedicatedly, working together for a common purpose. KSADP started under the leadership of the immediate past Country Director, Sani Miko, an astute professor of agronomy, who handed over to the current Country Director, a determined Dr. Godwin Atser, and his deputy, an indefatigable Dr. Abdulhamid Gambo.

These men are solidly backing the Abdulrashid Hamisu-led project team, who are touching the lives of millions of residents in Kano state through the implementation of the project.

Last note, the Sasakawa-KNARDA-KSADP Model has proved to be the laudable answer to food security in Nigeria, and the model is adaptable and scalable in any corner of this country.

IsDB, its LLF, and SAA are veritable and potential supporters to make Nigeria achieve food security by replicating the KSADP model in any state of the federation. Here is a low-hanging fruit for states and the federal government. The ball is in your court, governors and ministers of agriculture.

MK Othman is a Professor of Agricultural Engineering at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He is the immediate past Executive Director of National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), ABU Zaria.

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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