New methods to tackle Nigeria’s food insecurity
A new initiative by United Kingdom government-funded Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN) is testing the ground for new agricultural methods and models in the Niger Delta, and sowing new opportunities for livelihoods and development.
The initiative focuses on the Niger Delta in partnership with Alluvial Agriculture, a collective farming business that targets including as many as 100,000 smallholders on farms spanning 463 square miles.
According to Programmes Manager, SDN, Florence Kayemba, “Many people are propelled into the illicit industries through a lack of alternative livelihoods. SDN, with funding from the UK Government, seeks to test and showcase viable alternative livelihoods in the Niger Delta by undertaking agricultural pilot projects”.
One pilot project will test a variety of approaches to swamp rice farming to establish the most effective method that can be scaled-up in other creek locations. It will be implemented with ex-participants of the artisanal oil industry, building on research Testing Innovation in Agricultural Methods and engagements, which indicate productive alternative livelihoods, can remove actors from the industry, and deter new entrants. Another pilot project seeks to reduce the barriers of land ownership, access to capital, and low interest credit to commercially viable initiatives developing in the Niger Delta.
SDN seeks to test a variety of approaches to swamp rice farming to establish the most effective method that can be scaled-up in other creek locations. This pilot project employs and provides training to ex-participants of the burgeoning artisanal oil industry in the region who are looking for safer and more legitimate livelihood alternatives. A team of agricultural specialists will test and compare the results of the rice grown in 12 separate plots of land across six hectares and report to inform future varieties and inputs to maximise return on investment and make this a viable livelihood alternative for communities living in the creeks of the Niger Delta.
Alongside testing what agricultural methods perform best, SDN has partnered with Alluvial, a private sector provider, to reduce the risks and barriers to 100 smallholder and unemployed farmers, using different methods to maximise crop yields over 200 hectares.