The Centre for Dryland Agriculture at the Bayero University, Kano (BUK), has come a long way since it successfully organised its first International Conference on Drylands with the theme, Climate Change and Food Security in the African Drylands,back in its early days, in 2014, with the objective of bringing together scientists, researchers, developments workers, farmers and other stakeholders working in dryland areas, to discuss and share knowledge, experiences and research findings, in order to build linkages towards finding solutions to some of the problems facing communities living in the drylands.
Widely described by participants as first of its kind in the field, in Nigeria, the Conference had a total of 73 scientific papers, cutting across its sub-themes, presented to more than 100 participants, drawn from countries across the West African Sub-region and beyond, such as Sudan, the United States of America and the United Kingdom.
Keynote Speakers included, Professor Mike Mortimore, an international renowned expert on Drylands Research in the United Kingdom; Professor Jimmy Adegoke from the Centre for Applied Environmental Research (CAER), University of Missouri, USA, and Dr. A. Y. Kamara, from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Kano. They spoke on the Requirements and Challenges of Dryland Agriculture and Pastoralism, Managing Environmental Risks and Challenges of Climate Change in Dryland Agriculture as well as Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Integrated Natural Resource Management to Improve Rural Livelihood in Savannahs of Nigeria, respectively.
Since then, the Centre has held several short courses in various areas related to its Programmes such as Biometrics, Crop-Livestock Improvement, Remote Sensing and GIS, among others, to enhance the capacity of national and regional stakeholders. These trainings, which are on-going, are either organised by the Centre or in conjunction with partners, including ICRISAT and IITA.
A one-week training on experimental design and biometrics, using the R software, for example, was held because CDA recognised the fact that analysis of data to provide critical information required for policy formulation and publication of results in high impact factor journals was a major drawback in several institutions in Africa. Some of the reasons for this are inappropriate choice or implementation of study designs and lack of access to quality data analysis software. The powerful and yet freely available open source software, R, was adopted for the workshop. The aim was to provide CDA and its partners with additional skills to manage, analyse, present results and publish findings in high impact factor journals.
The course was facilitated by Professor SagaryNokoe, a world-renowned biostatistician and Mr. Iddrisu Wahab, both from the University of Energy and Natural Resources, Ghana. It was attended by 50 participants drawn from various institutions from Nigeria and Niger Republic. They include, the University of Maradi, Niger; ICRISAT, IITA, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI); the National Agricultural Research Institute of the Republic of Niger (INRAN), Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR), Zaria; Audu Bako College of Agriculture (ABCOA), Dambatta; Binyaminu Usman College of Agriculture (BUCOA), Hadejia; as well as various academic departments within Bayero University, Kano.
To underline the importance of crop-livestock integration in dryland agriculture, CDA, also in conjunction with ICRISAT, organised another six-day training workshop on Crop-Livestock Management in West Africa, at its Training Hall. The workshop attracted a total of 41 participants from Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Nigeria, drawn from National Agricultural Research and Extension Services (NARES), extension agencies, NGOs, private farms, farmers’ groups, international agencies and universities. The objective was to train them on crop-livestock integration and the use of innovation platforms to enhance knowledge and technology dissemination. Major training areas included better use of crop residues, manure management and mechanisation for better feeding practices.
At BUK, CDA has been recognised as one of the most successful units of the University. It has been able to attract the best attention from international development partners and organised several fora for intellectual discussion on dryland-related issues. The Centre Leader, Professor Jibrin M. Jibrin, said CDA had, so far, established strong national, regional and international linkages and collaborations, which have already resulted in several collaborative research, training and development projects with various partners.
Participants at the Regional Workshop on Crop-Livestock Management in West Africa