The Food and Agriculture Organization is supporting about 174, 000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the north east Nigeria with vegetable seeds and irrigation supports for dry season farming, according to its Director of Emergency and Rehabilitation, Dominique Burgeon.
In a statement issued by FAO Communication Officer for the project, Emeka Anuforo, the FAO chief said during a donor-visit to a project site, Fariya in Borno State, that the project was being implemented under FAO Restoring Agricultural Livelihoods of IDPs, Returnees and Vulnerable Host Families in North East Nigeria.
Burgeon said ahead of the rainy season, it was important for the UN body to scale up its interventions in the region to ensure that those who return to farms receive the support they need to plant in time and produce food to sustain themselves and their families.
He said, “We are approaching a critical period in the agricultural calendar. This is our main opportunity to tackle these truly staggering levels of food insecurity by helping at-risk families to produce their own food.
“The rainy season begins in May-June. Farmers need to have seeds, fertilizers and tools in their hands by then so they can plant. If they miss this season, humanitarian costs are just going to keep rising and rising into 2018. Nutrition outcomes will worsen and this will affect today’s children for the rest of their lives.”
In a statement issued by FAO Communication Officer for the project, Emeka Anuforo, about 2,000 farmers in Fariya, a village in Jere Local government, will be supported.
According to him, the project was being funded by Governments of Belgium, Ireland and Japan to enhance the self-sufficiency of returnees and vulnerable host families, women and youths through training and critical inputs including seedlings, water pumps and fertilizer for vegetable production.
In his remarks, Head of Politics, Information and Communication Section at the European Union Delegation to Nigeria, Pauline Torehall, described the project as being timely considering vulnerability of women and youths in the communities.
She stated that IDPs in Fariya were warmly welcomed into the community, highlighting how it gave the victims chance to restart their lives again.
“I think that this agricultural intervention is exactly what is needed in this part of Nigeria where so many people have lost their sources of livelihood because of the crisis. Women and youths are very vulnerable here and they absolutely need a new livelihood.
“I think it looks like a very good programme and a good alternative. It is not complicated to do. There are lots of lands here and there is water. With seeds and tools, it is possible to again start livelihood,” she said.
The FAO in its 2017 plan targeted to scout a sum of $62 million under its Humanitarian Response Plan for the country.
About $20 million, according to the UN body is urgently required to reach 1.9 million people during the coming main planting season starting in June 2017.