Farmers in Nasarawa State Harness Biochar and Bokashi to Boost Yields and Incomes

Members of Apashi Woza MPCs packaging Biochar after production
Members of Apashi Woza MPCs packaging Biochar after production

In the Nasarawa State of Nigeria’s North Central region, members of two farmer groups, Dacewa MPCS Shabu and the Apashi-Woza Multipurpose Cooperative groups, are on a journey to improve their yields and income through the production and use of bokashi and biochar. Bokashi is produced by fermenting food and other organic wastes using special bacteria, while biochar is a charcoal-like substance made by burning organic material from agricultural and kitchen wastes. Both bokashi and biochar improve soil nutrient availability, aeration, and water filtration.

The comprehensive training, part of a project funded by the Japanese government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and implemented by SAA, enabled the farmer groups to become proficient in biochar production. Recognizing their potential, SAA linked them to a market for 2,000kg of biochar and bokashi, valued at N158,000 ($166), under its Project for Evidence-based Regenerative Agriculture to Address Climate Change (PHRDG 1). This was a significant turning point, as it instilled a sense of ownership and pride among the farmers beyond income generation. “SAA didn’t just show us how to make biochar and bokashi; they trusted us with this chance,” said Aminu Aliyu, the chairman of Dacewa MPCS Shabu.

Members of Apashi Wazo MPCs Assakio, Lafia LGA Nasarawa State.

The benefits of the biochar training extended beyond their cooperation with neighboring farmers getting a chance to witness its positive effects on crop yields. Demonstration plots revealed a 19% increase in rice production on biochar treated plots compared to conventional farmer practice. This, coupled with the environmental benefits of biochar, spurred local interest, creating a sustainable cycle of knowledge sharing, income growth, and agricultural improvement.

Atebeshi Haliru Aso, chairman of Apashi-Woza MPCS, emphasized the dual benefits of biochar and bokashi: “The environmental gains are just as important as the economic ones. We’re proud to be part of building a more sustainable future.”

Dr Godwin Atser, SAA-Nigeria Country Director, underlined the initiative’s achievements, highlighting the importance of equipping farmers with both production skills. “The success of this project underlines the effectiveness of empowering farmers. The use of biochar and bokashi produced by these groups for the PHRDG-1 project showcases the potential for scalability and significant impact.”

Retrieved from SAA E-Newsletter, issued in February 2024, titled "Transforming Food Systems in Nigeria"

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