The adoption of vetiver grass and it's technology by farmers for sustainable agriculture, good environmental quality and economic growth.
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
The reasons for the choice of the location of my project are because of the following; it's proximity to market is of a major advantage, the community shares boundary with Enugu state in Eastern part of Nigeria, which is an ethnic group that is ranked among the three largest ethnic group in Nigeria which has a population that continually demand for agricultural produce, which the enterprise is engaged in providing using the potentials of vetiver grass technology (VGT) to increase crop yields and the quality and quantity of agricultural produce of the enterprise. I am a native of the community which my family farm land is situated and the adoption of an agricultural system that would add value to the land which is part of my heritage and positively affect the lives of my kinsmen, economically, socially and culturally is also a motivating factor to the choice of my project location. Also the location have a climatic condition that encourages wide spread growth of wild oil palm trees in the area and makes oil palm production and processing a major source of income for land owners in my community. The introduction of a sustainable technique to improve crop yields, lead to good environmental quality and contribute to commerce and industry which is highly encouraged and enterprising in contemporary Nigeria.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
Akpanya is an Igala border community located in the then Adoru district of Igala kingdom. It shares a common boundary with some Igbo Nsukka communities. Akpanya is geographically located between latitude 6 degrees 45' N and 7 degrees 12' N and longitude 6 degrees 55' E and 7 degree 22' E. Ecologically, Akpanya is located in a transition belt region of the North Central Nigeria oscillating between the high forest of the coastal belt and the more drier and open conditions of the savannah belt. It has an annual rainfall pattern of about 50 inches. This favourable climatic conditions support agricultural and nonagricultural activities. Akpanya shares a common boundary with the Igbo communities of Northern Nsukka, namely Unadu, Itchi,Ibagwa-Nkwo, Okutu and Okpuje. These proximities have engendered mutual intergroup relations across social, economic and cultural strata.Akpanya is less than 45 minutes drive from university of Nigeria (UNN),Nsukka campus. Akpanya is composed of small settlements, all within a radius of five kilometers. The settlements are grouped into two zones. The Akpanya zone consisting of Agbedo, Ajobi, Oji-Akpanya,Eba,Agbokete and Ogboligbo. The Amaka zone consisting of Amaka and Igabije, all within the present day Igalamela/Odolu local government area of Kogi state, North-Central Nigeria. Akpanya communities is bilingual in in nature, Igala and Igbo are languages widely used in the community, inhabitants of the community are largely farmers, though there are hunters, blacksmiths, palm wine tappers, traders and civil servants. There is religious harmony among worshippers in the area due to high regard and tolerance for Islam,Christianity and traditional religion, though Christianity has the largest population of followers in the area. Wild oil palm grows almost in every part of the community, and these wild oil palm trees economically serves as a source of income for land owners, contracted oil palm processors, palm wine tappers and other unskilled labourers associated with the production and processing of palm oil, palm kernel oil, palm kernel cake and palm wine tapping. The major crops cultivated by farmers in the area includes pigeon pea, cassava, yam, maize, bambara nuts, ground nuts and yellow pepper. The area is characterized by hills limiting farmers usage of the abundant arable land resources for agricultural activities. The people of Akpanya hope for the maximum utilization of the land resources, sustainable agricultural farm practice, good environmental quality, jobs and wealth creation, through the wide spread cultivation and adoption of vetiver grass technology, which would prompt large scale crop production, good environmental quality and the establishment of agro allied industries, agro processing industries and infrastructural amenities that would diversify the Nigerian economy and spur economic growth and development.
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
Non adoption of affordable, effective and sustainable soil and water conservation and embankment stabilization technology, to address erosion, flooding, land contamination by agrochemicals,poor land management practice and embankment stabilization in my community.
Lack of sustainable innovative food technology which have largely affected the production and consumption of balanced diet in my community.
Strong attachment to rudimentary and cultural agricultural farm practice and agro processing activities which limits agricultural production output.
Inadequate knowledge and adoption of VGT which limits the attainment of food security, sustainable agriculture, good environmental quality, job and wealth creation in my community.
Low economic exploitation of agricultural and nonagricultural opportunities in the area .
Inadequate government policy formulation, implementation and political will which affects the realization sustainable agriculture.
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
I would establish a thirty hectares oil palm plantation which would be inter cropped with pigeon pea, cassava and soya bean ,using vetiver grass hedgerow on a sloping hill farm land for soil and water conservation to improve crop yields which would serve as a demonstration farm to rural farmers in my community. Like wise I would establish twenty hectares cashew plantation which would be inter cropped with moringa also using vetiver grass hedgerow on a sloping hill farm land for for soil and water conservation to improve crop yields, and also to serve as a demonstration farm. I would establish a five hectares fish farm using vetiver grass for embankment stabilization of the earthen pond and for the treatment of the water in the pond as a demonstration farm for rural farmers in my community. I would establish a five hectares vetiver grass nursery which would serve as a source of vetiver grass slips for rural farmers and demonstrate the capability of the nursery as an enterprising source of income for rural farmers. I would establish a twenty hectares vetiver grass farm, planting the vetiver grass in pots to avoid the effect of erosion due to digging multiple deep holes to harvest the roots of vetiver grass which is the primary raw material for the production of vetiver essential oil,while the planting of vetiver grass in clay pots would reduce the cost of labour for harvesting of vetiver roots, this in turn make the cultivation of vetiver grass less laborious and enterprising for rural farmers in my community. I would procure a vetiver oil distillation plant for the production of vetiver essential oil which would encourage contract farming of vetiver grass by farmers in my community and also spur the trade in vetiver roots locally and as export goods for the perfumery industry. I would demonstrate the efficacy of vetiver grass technology for natural disaster mitigation and infrastructure protection in my community by using vetiver grass technology to stabilize the road to my farm to check against gully erosion affecting farm roads. I would establish a vocational training center for the use of vetiver grass for handicrafts and ornamentals, like pottery, basketry, furniture, mushroom culturing, thatching and green fuel production,that would lead to skills acquisition and job creation for women and youths in my community. I would use the social media, print media, electronic media and advocacy tours to get rural farmers informed about the potentials of vetiver grass, which would prompt wide spread adoption of the technology in my community.