North East: FAO targets 1 Million households in seed, fertiliser distribution
This is coming after a prolonged period of Boko Haram-related conflict, with markets reopening and a significant number of farmers said to have returned to their homelands to resume cultivation.
With the distribution to support the people in preparing for the 2018 rainy season so that their harvest will be more productive, FAO say it is expect that the one million people in these states will have enough food to last between six and eight months with the inputs provided, given normal seasonal conditions.
At the symbolic flag-off of the programme in Maiduguri on Tuesday, FAO said it was alarmed by the humanitarian needs faced by the agriculture-based households in Northeastern Nigeria where an estimated 2.9 million people face heightened food insecurity.
FAO’s Country representative, Suffyan Koroma, noted that insurgency in the Northeastern Nigeria has led to high level displacement, numbering in the millions, adding that of all the internally displaced people, 80 percent identified agriculture as the main source of livelihoods before the crisis.
“A restoration of livelihoods, particularly in agriculture will be central for a full recovery in the region.
FAO’s overall role in northeastern Nigeria is simple, enhance food security through agricultural support, particularly to those most affected and vulnerable to shocks both in the external or the local contexts,” Koroma said during the official flag-off.
Koroma who was represented by the Head of Programme, Michael Oyat, said that rainy season is a major opportunity to strengthen livelihoods in the selected northeastern states.
“For farmers who are able to farm this season, FAO’s programme will reinforce access to quality inputs which will boost yields and household’s food and nutrition status,” he added.
In his remarks, the Governor of Borno state, Kashim Shettimah acknowledged FAO’s gesture, saying it was a testimony of the organisation’s commitment to provide the needed support for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and returnees in the state.
Represented by the Deputy governor, Usman Mamman Durkwa, Governor Shettimah said the distribution of dry season and rainy season inputs will significantly reduce acute food shortage in the Northeast and Borno State in particular.
He said, “with the improvement in security situation as a result of near total defeat of Boko Haram, scaling up of humanitarian assistance from both the state and Federal Government in collaboration with our strategic partners, the future of our Reconstruction, Resettlement and Rehabilitation efforts are very bright as peace is gradually returning to Borno.”
While commending the multifaceted efforts of FAO in the state, the Governor further urged the organisation to continue with the partnership with the state government so as to collectively salvage the situation for the overall development of Borno, Nigeria and humanity.
Governor Shettimah also urged the beneficiaries to make good use of the opportunity and rebuild their livelihood as the return and resettlement process of all IDPs has since commenced.
FAO is an international organisation and is a member of the United Nations system.
It is the lead agency for agriculture development and aims to assist communities in northeastern Nigeria to improve their agricultural production and improve access to food and income.
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