Dr Nuraini Funsho, Senior Technical Adviser to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, says Synergos Nigeria has sponsored the establishment of a pilot knowledge farm in Kuje.
He said this in Abuja, while addressing farmers and farmer groups at the ongoing Annual Smallholder Farmers Produce Forum organised by Synergos Nigeria.
Funsho said that Synergos had established the farm through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for farmers so as to enable them to acquire modern farming skills.
He said that in the pilot knowledge farm, every aspect of farming activity was undertaken to enable farmers to visit the place to acquire knowledge which could benefit them and the entire society.
He said that plans were underway to replicate the farm in the states for the benefit of other farmers across the country.
Besides, Funsho advised farmers to encourage landowners to rent out their lands, stressing that such arrangements would encourage the youth to engage in commercial agriculture.
The senior technical adviser, however, cautioned farmers against erecting permanent structures on leased or rented lands.
He said that this would enable the farmers, in the event of any disagreement with the landowners, to dismantle their make-shift structures before returning the lands to their owners.
Also speaking, Dr Khadijat Abdulaziz, the Head of Quality Control, Nigeria Commodity Exchange, advised farmers to always use standard drying equipment to control the moisture content of their produce.
She also urged farmers to acquire moisture meters, saying that some of the machines were cheap and would serve them well.
The meters will assist you to dry your produce in order to store them for long periods without caking.
Do not dry your produce on the bare floor; dry them on platforms to avoid being infected by microtoxins especially aflatoxins,'' she said.
Abdulaziz also advised farmers to control the foreign matter component of their produce effectively, saying that the attainment of purity in crop processing was very essential.
The lesser the percentage of foreign materials like sands and stones in grains, the purer the produce would be.
Do not add stones or sand to your produce to increase its quantity. This is because such a practice will definitely discourage companies from patronising you,'' she said.
Source: Voice of Nigeria