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Turning every one to a citizen scientist with a blend of traditional and morden farming options in Benue State

Benue State, Nigeria becomes a model for climate resilient agricultural production that feeds a rapidly growing populace

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Lead Applicant Organization Name

Federal university of Agriculture Makurdi

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Researcher Institution

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

Michigan State University

Website of Legally Registered Entity

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • Just beginning now

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?


Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?


Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Benue, a state in north central Nigeria, has a total area of approximately 34,059 km^2

What country is your selected Place located in?


Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Located in the Benue valley trough within the Nigerian landscape and named the “Food basket of the nation” Benue state is the land of my birth and I have worked with farmer community, students and extension agents at the state ministry of agriculture and the Benue state Agricultural and Rural development Authority(BNARDA) over some years to increase agricultural productivity, restore degraded lands and preserve biodiversity. It is also the food hub of the nation.

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.

The people are peace loving, hardworking and law abiding citizens. Predominantly a farming state with pockets of fish farming along the riverbanks in most villages and communities close to the second largest river in the nation. Benue has a unique micro climate that supports a wide variety of crops and proximity to the River Benue enables aquaculture and second season farming of vegetables and grain cross as well as tubers. The land is generally low lying but in Kwande and Oju local government areas and at the boundary towards Cameroon hilly terrain with appreciable local relief can be observed generally all other areas have 4o slope . The flood plains characterized by swamps and ponds are used to cultivate vegetables and grains during the dry season. It experiences two distinct season the wet and dry. The rainy season starts from April and last till October however recently rains extend into November. The dry season begins in late November through to March. Temperatures could be as high as 420C but averages around 27-320C. The southern- east and west parts of the state are cooler with higher amount of rainfall. Vegetations includes rain forest in the south and derived savannah to the north. The state is comprised of several ethnic groups with very distinct languages , history food , folktales, songs dance, dresses, festivals and cultural heritage . Major inhabitants are the Tiv people originally believed to have migrated from Congo. The old Kwararafa comprising the Idoma, Igede Jukun Etolo tribes within Benue state and others like the Doma people in neighboring Nassarawa state and the Igalas in Kogi state. The Benue state capital is Makurdi and has a land mass size estimated to be 33,9555 square kilometers. The second major river in the country lies within the state “ the River Benue” that flows through a long stretch across communities serving as a source of fresh water fish farming and a means of transportation. Its unique microclimate, position and relatively rich soils enables the cultivation of a wide array of crops from the staple maize and rice to millet, sorghum, groundnuts soya beans, beniseed yams, sweet potatoes, tomatoes oranges mangoes. A predominantly faming state there has been national policies and international interventions and support programs geared towards boosting agricultural productivity(IFAD- VCADP,the world Bank Assisted Fadama II, III project, Sasakawa project)has been able to turn farmer income and livelihood for the better. However, issues of soil nutrient depletion, conflict of resources, transportation, Market access storage of harvested products, processing, climate change all are issues that yet hamper the full potentials of the state in being the food hub of the country. Predominantly operating traditional subsistent farming the states seeks new innovation in communication technology to increase productivity markets and economy

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Current challenges is management of internally displaced persons arising from the effect of flooding a consequence of climate changes for the years 2015, 2017, and the farmer herder crises of years 2018, affecting the agricultural production potentials of the state. Farmer-Herder conflict particularly in the middle belt region From Plateau, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Taraba, Adamawa and Benue States, has been sporadic and numerous. My emphasis will be attacks by herders to the indigenous farming population of Benue state. Also the state is plagued with issues of post- harvest losses of its farm produces ● Future challenges will be the ripple effects of climate change causing extreme rainfall events that may alter current planting patterns, increase plant and soil disease incidences, increased release of carbon dioxide(co2) and nitrous oxide(No3), soil erosion and land degradation and increased vices due to the high number of persons in IDPs who will be idle and may result to crime. The need to scale up production to feed a growing population (locally and in Nigeria’s mega-cities) with increased land pressure following population increase and conflicting need for land resources also the energy demand of the growing population will put pressure on resources thus, fueling the climate change issues with releases of harmful green house gases exposed soils and loss of trees. The various ethnic group within the state have their unique local diets this however is changing as the many challenges of agriculture drive changes in diets towards more carbohydrates with less vegetable, fruits and protein as this is sold for cash

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Using indigenous knowledge and science to drive self sufficiency and healthy diets

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

Benue State, Nigeria becomes a model for climate resilient agricultural production in an African context that feeds a rapidly growing and urbanizing population while empowering citizens, protecting natural resources and harnessing biology. Benue is part of the ‘foodshed’ for the megacity of Lagos, Nigeria, and is thriving economically, culturally and ecologically. It is a beautiful, diverse and culturally significant agrarian landscape that everyone wants to visit (like Tuscany). A mix of small, medium, and large-scale farms produce food for local consumption and for Nigerian cities. Innovation and adaptation in agricultural practices are supported by a platform for learning and knowledge exchange that engages farmers, policymakers, researchers, traders, input dealers, and extension workers both in person and through digital technologies. Experimentation and participation are encouraged through this platform, which is hosted by a local university. Landscape diversity is enhanced through the protection of riparian zones and wetlands and the restoration of forested areas. Production is increased through information sharing supported by the innovation platform, and soil improvement through on farm crop diversity, integration of crops and livestock, and incorporating nutrient inputs from urban waste. Benue continues to produce a diverse range of staples for the Nigerian diet (grains, tubers, legumes, vegetables and fruits), supported by information on the benefits of on-farm crop diversity and incentive packages for agroforestry and climate resilient practices. Sustainable grazing zones are established, incorporating perennial grain production, and herders live in harmony with farmers. Climate resilience is enhanced through maintaining crop diversity, cover cropping, and ecological drainage to address waterlogging. Sustainable biofuels (such as charcoal) and biochar for soil enhancement are produced on dedicated lands with highly efficient kilns.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

Benue continues to produce a diverse range of staples for the Nigerian diet (grains, tubers, legumes, vegetables and fruits), supported by information on the benefits of on-farm crop diversity and incentive packages for agroforestry and climate resilient practices.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Conference/event


Join the conversation:

Photo of Rethabile Konopo

Welcome Turning every one to a citizen scientist with a blend of traditional and morden farming options in Benue State to the Vision Prize!
How might your work today look like in 2050 if you were to upset the current trends and build a new trajectory for the future that inspires others around you to collaborate? To help you speculate what your future Vision could look like, you can find some guiding principles on Future Casting and inspiration in the Vision Prize Toolkit in Chapter 3 under Tools of Transformation.

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Thank you, was intently working on this project, we had another attack (fulani herders/farmer clashes) so I have been unstable coupled with internet issues would have replied earlier . Noted however and thank you for your kind words