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The first annual HortiNigeria Learning Workshop commenced July 11, 2023, at Tahir Guest Palace in Kano State, Nigeria. The two-day event featured several sessions, including panel discussions, gallery walks, a world café, exhibitions, and field visits.

Many distinguished stakeholders graced the occasion, including representatives of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (EKN), National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Ministry of Agriculture of Kaduna and Kano States, National Tomato Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NATPAN), Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG), Organic Fertilizer Producers & Suppliers Association of Nigeria (OFPSAN), Netherlands-African Business Council (NABC), other Dutch-funded programs, private sector partners, financial institutions, and others in the agricultural value chain within and outside the country.

“I am positive that new bridges are being built, new synergies are being created, and we will work together toward an inclusive, sustainable, and high-performing horticulture sector in Nigeria.”

Yeray saavedra gonzalez, Hortinigeria team lead

The event facilitated a fruitful exchange of knowledge and offered opportunities for networking. HortiNigeria Program Director Mohammed Salasi Idris explained that the main objective was not only to share their achievements and learnings, but also to gain insights to drive positive change in the horticulture sector.

A group of people sitting in line on a stage for a panel discussion.
Workshop participants and stakeholders engage in a panel discussion about transforming the horticulture sector in Nigeria.

With over 140 participants, the gallery walk allowed institutions to display posters showcasing their contributions to the sector. The exhibition booths were bustling with activity, as sellers interacted with buyers, promoting their products and services. The products showcased during this session included tomato and pepper powders and tomato and pineapple wines processed by NIHORT, tomato paste produced by Tomato Jos, drones from Integrated Aerial Precision (IAP), seedling trays from East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer (EWS-KT), packaged dry tomato powder sold by SimKay Limited, and seeds and other agro-inputs from dealers, such as Royal Blue and Afri Agri. The exhibition offered participants a chance to increase their business visibility in Kano State and expand their customer base.

Through the panel discussions, stakeholders highlighted the achievements made over the past year and a half of program implementation. Topics included productivity, income, effective market systems development, and policy advocacy.

The day culminated with the world café session, where deep engagement among value chain actors was fostered. This contributed valuable insights into existing technologies, policy trends, and developments within the sector.

A group of people in a field looking at various plants near the ground.
Key farmers going through a program demonstration field at Dawakin Kudu.

An important side event involved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the WidiJalo Foundation. This partnership aims to enhance water access by establishing solar-powered boreholes within all program intervention areas. Improved access to clean water will benefit farming activities, especially by alleviating the burden on women and youth in accessing water, thus boosting overall agricultural productivity.

On the second day of the workshop, participants had the opportunity to visit a program learning site at Saádatu Rimi College of Education in Kano State and demonstration fields at Dawakin Kudu. This visit provided useful information on the various technologies promoted by the program for smallholder farmers. Farmers at the demonstration plots expressed their heartfelt gratitude, explaining that the knowledge they have gained has transformed their approach to farming, motivating them to push their businesses forward.

During the field visit at Dawakin Kudu, IAP, one of the program’s business champions in Ogun State, demonstrated its cutting-edge drone technology. The demonstration showcased how drones can be an effective and efficient tool in managing a farm. Ussain Umar, a farmer beneficiary of the program, expressed his amazement, saying, “I have never seen such technology used in farming.” The introduction of such technology holds promise for revolutionizing farming practices and increasing agricultural efficiency.

Overall, the HortiNigeria Learning Workshop proved to be an enriching and productive event that strengthened collaboration and stimulated progress within the agricultural sector.

View shared insights, collaborative ideas, and significant outcomes that emerged from this beneficial event, aiming to provide key aspirations and opportunities for action and growth in creating a sustainable and inclusive horticulture sector in Nigeria.