In July 2018 Oxfam Intermon sponsored a two days Training of Cereals/Grains Producers Organizations (PO) under the theme: Support to Nigerian Producer’s Organizations to improve their capacity to perform quality analyses of cereals. Those trained were permanent agents of farmers organizations that work directly on the purchase, storage, sales and/or monitoring of inventory at the store level.
The training exercise was conducted in Kaduna between the 6th – 9th August, 2018.
The project objective for Nigeria is to inform the various cereal producers organizations in West Africa on how to supply and rebuild the regional reserve.
Two organizations and their representatives were selected by Oxfam for the training in Nigeria were:
– JUSSAF INTEGRATED VENTURES. This organization has 250000 registered members and 320 Cooperative Groups and is involved with the registration of Producers, Processors and Marketers of majorly maize among other agricultural commodities such as Rice, Sorghum, millet, soya beans and cowpea.
– Rice & Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria. This Association is very strong and well structured principally in Rice Value Chain development. They cover the entire North West Nigeria and their production is all year round.
A total of 13 participants
Rationale of the Training:
Adult Education Practice was employed to develop and conduct this Training Programme for participants coming from agricultural organizations and the approach was based on the methodology of “experiential learning’’.
– To state the importance of cereals/grains quality control.
– To list factors affecting the quality of cereals/grains
– To list some precautionary and control measures to reduce post harvest cereals/grains losses/wastages.
– To make a list of procedures to observe that will ensure cereals/grains certifications and standards at community levels and beyond.
– To transfer both knowledge and skills learnt to producers organization involved in instituted purchases of cereals/grains on quality measures.
Structure of the activities carried out:
Participants clearly written down their perceived/actual expectations from the training exercise. The responses formed what is needed to be know or done on participants job.
This exercise helped us to identify the nature of their perceived problems and also enables participants to focus more specifically on what they want to achieve from the training.
Some examples below.
- The sessions were carefully and sequentially arranged to allow for flow in the organizations goal and to enhance relevance of topics to participants
- Presentations and discussions that followed were done in English Language with intermittent Hausa Language clarifications
Cereals/Grains Laboratory Demonstration:
The Premier Seed Laboratory has been identified as a standard and relevant private laboratory in Zaria, Kaduna State for the conduct of demonstration purposes on what ECOWAS-RAAF tenders usually demand which include the following:
- Humidity content
- Organic Foreign Materials
- Inorganic Foreign Materials
- Grains damaged by insects
- Broken grains
- Moldy grains
- Aflaloxin (B1+B2+G1+G2)
- Live Predators
- Heavy metals; and those obtained from a non-genetically modified variety (i.e. NO GMO).
This Laboratory (Premier Laboratory) is equipped for simple to highly sophisticated seeds and cereal analysis procedures. It has long standing reputation of working with outgrower seeds and cereal farmers along the Grains Value Chain.
The laboratory is headed by Mrs. Olabisi Grace Johnson (BS.c Botany, 1988) who graciously prepared handout to aid her presentation and demonstrations.
Mrs. Johnson subdivided the participants into 6-groups and gave each group samples of grains with high contaminations for participants to sort out and clean, measured moisture content of dry grains and weigh out/classify the contaminants.
She took participants into the company’s warehouse and showed them how to store cereals/grains on wood boxes. She demonstrated grains batch labeling, value of traceability issues, simple sampling methods to check quality of cereals/grains from farms, markets, etc. The emphasize was that is best practice to take small quantity of grains/sample but from many bags, rather than take larger quantities but from fewer bags.
Participants all put hands to practice on how to sort out physically unwanted foreign bodies (stones, grasses, leaves, hair, etc.) dead/life insects, mixed varieties of grains in a given crop, broken and/or unmilled grains etc.
Mrs. Johnson also demonstrated how to measure moisture content of grains and explained the coloration between moisture content of grains and spoilages/losses/wastages. Remedies on grains quality control measures were advanced by participants who now know better from the combined effects of previous lectures they had and with the laboratory demonstrations.
Feedbacks from Trainees:
Post Training Evaluation Forms:
The consultant designed, produced and administered Post Training Evaluation forms to participant and circulated for completion and return. Both the form sample and analyzed results of the evaluation are as presented below:
1. Usefulness of Training = very useful 100%
2. Training met expectations = yes 100%
3. Most Learned Topics:
a) Storage Practices: 100%
b) Grains Quality Control Measures: 82%
4. Topics preference by participants:
a) Improved storage practices for cereals/grains – 100%
b) Economic Importance of cereals/grains – 80%
5. All Participants indicated readiness for commencement of TOT as follows:
a) Immediately – 37%
b) Soon – 60%
The two days training sessions were summarized. A link to the original participant’s expectations and the actual goals was brought back and displayed so as to determine if these objectives were met. The following event sequentially gave participants a sense of completion of the Training Activities with great appreciations on the relevance and timeliness of the training to their operations.
Issuance of Certificates:
1. It is very important to distinguish learning the increase of knowledge or skill from behavior. Enough time must be allowed/elapse after the training to allow the trainees to put the new learnings into practice
2. Results are perhaps the most important measurement in the eyes of those who pay for the training; but training never takes place in isolation so other influences are usually there and always difficult to eliminate. There is a need for Oxfam to provide a Standard Guideline for International Tender/Bidding for Cereals/Grains Institutional purchases.
3. ECOWAS-RAAF might find it import to facilitate country and/or sub-regional and even regional need to developed standard Training Designs, Role Plays, Case Studies, Audio-Visual Materials, Lecturettes and Tips on Integrating Field Work into Training Programmes. This concept of institutional purchase needs closer focus on the local producers and their Value Chain players/merchants in every given location.
To a greater extend, the rightly identified use for this type of training at the level of groups/clusters organization is a syndrome of the past noticeable lapses in unacceptable low quality of our cereals/grains at internationally comparative markets. The resultant effect of which makes our producers/farmers poorer, the commodity value chain underdeveloped with unacceptable large amounts of losses/wastages from poor to non-adherence to global best practices.
Producers livelihoods in this scenario if unchecked and improved upon will continue to be unimproved, agriculture will lack the vigor to generate rural employment, increases incomes, while dwindling, food and national security will threaten. All persistently these are inspite of enormous resources and opportunities will posse great global vulnerability when the coupling effects of unforeseen calamities/disasters and those of climate change are combined. The ECOWAS-RAAF concept of Strategic Food Reserves of cereals/grains is highly commendable and Training of players along Cereals/Grains Value Chain is definitely in the right direction.