29th March, 2017
Farmers in North-Eastern Nigeria, supported by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) say they are looking forward to a bumper harvest.
According to the farmers, this is as a result of the quantity and quality of crops some of them have started harvesting so far.
Mr Emeka Anuforo, the National Communication Officer of FAO in Nigeria said this in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday.
Anuforo said a Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at the Community Based Agricultural and Rural Development Programme (CBARDP) in Borno, Salisu Ngulde said most of the crops were grown by women who make up 40 per cent of the project.
“The farmers have already started harvesting their crops from the dry season interventions and have food for their families, while they sell part of the produce to make some money.
“They are now able to get income, save feeding costs and have surplus in the home to take care of other basic needs for a few months,’’ Ngulde who is also FAO implementing partner in the state said.
The FAO is collaborating with the governments of Belgium, Ireland and Japan to support the farmers.
Anuforo described the intervention as very successful and expressed the hope that more funds would be made available to take care of the larger number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), returnees, female-headed households, youths and the host communities who were in dire need of support.
He said that Abba Mursi, one of the beneficiaries of the interventions, who fled his community in Bama after an attack two and half years ago and took refuge in Gongulong Bulamari village said he desired to return home to a productive life, all thanks to FAO.
Mursi said that he was thankful for the WASH borehole, seedlings and fertilizers given to them by FAO in January.
According to him, his carrot farm is doing well, less than three months after they received the support which helped him to farm during the dry season.
“I am also grateful to the Gongulong Bulamari people for accepting me and giving me access to a farmland where I hope to eke out a living.”
Anuforo said that Mele Muktar, another beneficiary originally from Koshabe, in Mafa Local Government Area of Borno, who had only been on the FAO-supported farm for one month was also hopeful of a bumper harvest.
“What I received was a complete package from FAO, we get food support from a number of organisations but this agricultural assistance means everything to me,” he said.
He said that FAO provided capacity building skills, vegetable seeds, fertilizers ànd irrigation support as part of its dry season interventions in support to IDPs, returnees and vulnerable host families in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States.
Anurofo said the farmers, mostly youths and women were already looking forward to a good harvest and the early signs of a good harvest were evident in the crisp and fresh carrots, huge cabbages and other vegetables being gathered from the fields.
“Vegetable seedlings like carrot, okra, amaranths, sorrel/Roselle, onions, tomatoes, pepper, watermelon and cabbage were given to each farmer in a master kit for food security, nutrition and livelihoods as well as incomes.
The statement also quoted Bukàr Tijani, the FAO Assistant Director- General and Regional Representative for Africa as “urging stakeholders to find durable and sustainable solutions to tackle the root causes of the crisis situation’’.
Tijani said especially that which affects livelihoods and incomes of the people.
According to the acting FAO Representative in Nigeria, Nourou Tall, supporting vulnerable host communities, displaced populations and returnees in north-east Nigeria to resume their agriculture activities will pave the way to durable solutions.
“Agriculture cannot be an afterthought, it is the starting point for the implementation of longer-term activities that contribute to strengthening the population’s resilience,’’ he said.