For all visitors to Sokoto State, located in Nigeria's northwest - the greenery of onion fields welcomes them everywhere. From the outskirts of the state's capital city of Sokoto Town, to its surrounding villages. Onions are an icon of this West African region. Alahaji Ummaru, lead farmer in Wamakko, Sokoto State, explained: "Onion farming can help someone become independent".
Alahaji is devoted to working the land, and farming onions brings him happiness. He has accumulated 40 years of experience in vegetable production. From a young age he has cultivated this same very field. “This land represents everything in my life. I had already grown several crops, but onion cultivation is different from any other. Thanks to onion farming, I accessed money that I used to start my own family” he explained, while smiling.
2SCALE partners with the private sector to reach smallholder farmers. In Sokoto State, the program partners with Tays Food Limited (TFL), a company specialized in onion storage and handling, with the ambition of contributing to the improvement of productivity and the reduction of post-harvest losses. TFL committed to supply white onion powder to Unilever Nigeria Plc, specialized in the manufacture and marketing of foods and food ingredients. It also produces home and personal care products.
Previously it was quite challenging to produce white onion in Sokoto State, because farmers only cultivated their own local varieties. In 2018, 2SCALE piloted white onion production with TFL. One year later, the pilot had been developed into a full-fledged partnership in order to scale up the production.
2SCALE brought farmers together in eight groups across Sokoto State and built their capacity via establishment of demonstration plots, dedicated to learning best practices on the cultivation of the white onion variety.