By Michael Olugbode
The People and Government of Canada, the European Union Trust Fund for Africa, the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Kingdom of Norway and the Kingdom of Sweden are funding the 2021 rainy season farming in troubled North-east of Nigeria.
The funding, which is implemented through the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), is providing farming inputs to 65,800 farmers in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States adversely affected by over a decade Boko Haram insurgency.
A statement on Friday by FAO recognized that the rainy season farm cultivation is critical to food production in Nigeria, as it ensures food availability and income generation, especially for smallholder and low-income households.
The statement read: “In the context of conflict, food production is central to entrenching peace, building resilience, and FAO is reaching 65,800 farmers in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States. 40,000 of the farmers are in Borno. The farmers will receive inputs including seeds and wet blended fertilizer.”
The statement added that the intervention is the sixth successive rainy season farming intervention, which FAO has implemented in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States, the three states which have been at the centre of the long drawn conflict.
The 2021 rainy season is funded by the People and Government of Canada, the European Union Trust Fund for Africa, the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Kingdom of Norway and the Kingdom of Sweden.
The Country Representative of FAO in Nigeria, Fred Kafeero, had at the flag off of the 2021 rainy season farming interventions on Thursday in Maiduguri, lamented that inaccessibility to improved seeds and fertilizers have resulted in food insecurity and poverty among the populace.
He said supporting the rainy season farming is key to the entire insurgency affected region, noting that farmers’ harvests contribute significantly to food security and income generation throughout the year.
He said: “Access to agricultural inputs for high yields, also saves lives and livelihoods of farmers,” adding that the distribution of seeds and fertilizers have contributed to the building of people’s resilience to conflict.
He said that this year, 65,800 household farmers were supported with agricultural inputs and livestock restocking for fattening, while 40,000 farmers were targeted for the distribution of inputs.
Kafeero said: “They will receive wet blended fertilizer and a variety of seeds of crops including vegetables, cereals and pulses,” noting that this will engage the farmers in agricultural production for food security and income generation.
He said food security and livelihood conditions in insurgency affected states, still require humanitarian assistance, particularly with the COVID-19 pandemic that reversed recent gains.
He said FAO is grateful for the support of our resource partners who continue to fund our interventions in the region, disclosing that the FAO 2021 rainy season intervention was made possible by the generosity of the People and Government of Canada, the European Union Trust Fund for Africa, the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Kingdom of Norway and the Kingdom of Sweden.
Kafeero, while lamenting food insecurity, said: “The latest CH analysis results projected that over four million people will be in need of food assistance between June and August 2021,” warning that there will be an increase of 19 per cent in food requirements.
Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum disclosed at the launch that the state has been devastated by insurgency, as 70% of farmers were affected with the destruction of their means of livelihoods.
The governor, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Prof. Isa Hussaini, said that the state government as part of its 10-pact agenda has prioritized agriculture for food security and farmers’ incomes.
According to him, food security requires massive investment in the ongoing agricultural transformation programmes for job creation and economic growth.