700,000 displaced farmers in NE get FAO fertilizers

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The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has commenced distribution of farm inputs to 700,000 displaced farmers for dry season activity in the North-East.

FAO’s Country Representative, Suffyan Koroma disclosed at the commencement of the distribution exercise on Thursday in
Maiduguri.

Koroma said that the organisation had made adequate arrangements to assist 700,000 irrigation farmers for the 2017/2018 dry season in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States.

He disclosed that some 270,000 farmers displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency would be supported with fertilisers, seeds, chemicals and water pumps in Borno State.

Koroma explained that the farmers were selected from 16 local government areas of the state to encourage their participation in rice and vegetable cultivation.

The FAO official revealed that 400 bulls and 6,600 goats would be distributed to youth and women for animal restocking and to boost livestock production.

Koroma announced plans by the organization to establish three improved cooking stove plants in Maiduguri to address energy needs of the affected families.

“FAO programmes in northeast Nigeria aimed at developing relevant responses to the food and livelihood crises since 2014.

“By supporting the crisis affected population with agricultural inputs such as early maturing crop varieties, good quality fertilisers, irrigation, micro-gardening equipment and food processing capacities to build and restore livelihood assets.

“The overall objective of our programme is to contribute to the improvement of food and nutrition security of people affected by conflict in the north-eastern states by restoring agricultural livelihood.”

Koroma said that the organization in collaboration with the Borno State Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) would provide extension services to ensure effective utilisation of the inputs.

According to him, the organization has assisted over one million farmers during the past cropping season in the war ravaged region.

Also, Gov. Kashim Shettima of Borno commended the organization for the gesture, saying it had assisted to mitigate food and humanitarian crisis caused by the Boko Haram insurgency in the state.

Shettima, who inaugurated the distribution exercise, said his administration would ensure effective monitoring of the benefitting farmers to guard against diversion of the inputs.

The governor recalled that the state government had also distributed fertilisers, water pumps and soft loans to farmers to encourage crop production and enhance food security.

Shettima called on the farmers to ensure effective utilization of the inputs and engage in agricultural activities.

The FAO Food and Agriculture intervention programme in the northeast is supported by USAID, European Commission, Belgium, France, Ireland, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden and UN-Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).

Statistics of the organization shows that Boko Haram insurgency resulted to displacement of about two million persons as well as disrupting of agricultural and business activities in the region.

Over 5.2 million people in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States are facing food insecurity; Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and host communities are the most affected.

The FAO statistics reveals that “It is critical to support agriculture and livestock production to
mitigate food insecurity during the lean period.

“With returnees and IDPs in accessible areas having access to land for agricultural production such support was critical to enable them grow food and generate income,”.

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