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AUN, UNHCR present inputs to Northeast displaced farmers

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AUN officials distributing seedlings in Mubi, Adamawa State

To avert incidence of food crisis predicted last year by United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the American University of Nigeria (AUN), in collaboration with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), has given out over N200m worth of farm inputs, to 10,000 Internally Displaced farmers in the Northeast region, in the last one year, through the Adamawa Agriculture and livelihood project.

The Adamawa Agriculture and livelihood project is designed by AUN to provide support for returnees, IDPs and host community members in Adamawa, Borno, Yobe and states affected by insurgents in the region.

The Project is funded by UNHCR, under the supervision of the Atiku center for leadership, entrepreneurship and development of the American University of Nigeria, which commenced last year.

The first batch of 1,000 head of household IDPs, returnees and host community members, had received training on sustainable agriculture in 2017 in northern Adamawa, while 500 head of households benefited in Adamawa Central.

The training conducted was on biodynamic, compost making, mulching weeding, storage and processing and they were empowered with farm kits and seeds. 

They also received maize seedlings, beans and groundnuts.

Last month, AUN and UNHCR officials in Mubi Local Council graduated another set of 1,000 IDPs trainees for the northern zone and distributed farm inputs and machines for different small-scale businesses setup for the beneficiaries after six months of intensive training.

The Project Director, Alhaji Abubakar Muazu said Borno, Gombe and Yobe State farmers have also benefitted from the livelihood project.

He said it is one thing to train farmers, and another to empower them with the aim of providing protection and support for the farmers.

“After training you, today, we are handing over your starter kits so that you can to take responsibilities.

Whatever we are giving you today is to use it wisely, you can open an account for your cooperatives, register your cooperatives and become part of the societal development,’’ he said.

Speaking during the handing over of equipment and cash to the benefiting women, the AUN Grant Administrator Dr. Liman Audu said the project is part of the university’s humanitarian services to members of the public. 

He stated that the women were trained in 17 cooperatives with different trades, groundnut oil and cake production, popcorn production, poultry farming, fashion designing, buying and selling agriculture produce and others.

Audu said the project was designed to disengage IDPs returnees and those who are in camps from depending on government and organisations for their survival, pointing out that the businesses will take away their minds from the trauma of Boko Haram attacks and also restore their hope of achieving their goals in life.

He tasked the beneficiaries to sustain and diversify their operations by not only relying on local markets, but that they should create their brand for corporate bodies to patronise their products.

Audu stated that to ensure that the women succeed in their trade, refresher courses will be organised for them quarterly and his team will give them close monitoring, in order to assist them in areas they are facing problems with their businesses.

He said that 50 per cent cost of the shops rent was paid by the AUN and that N30, 000 has been paid into accounts of each of the 17 cooperatives, as their take-off running cost to avoid the cooperatives borrowing money to run their businesses at the infant stage

Some of the beneficiaries could not hide the joy they feel to be part of this gesture. Dong Williams, a member of the Aljazeera cooperative, said he has never received such kind of gesture.

“They came with different and well improved system of farming; we were taught the disadvantages of using chemicals on our farmlands.

The idea alone and experiences we got from AUN staff is something worth appreciating and for the first time in my life, I am receiving free fertilizer,’’ he said.


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