FAO enhances food production in northeastern Nigeria in fourth consecutive rainy season programme

Lush green sprouts mark the arrival of the rainy season in northeastern Nigeria. The faces of farmers are lit with delight as they set to plant for the new farming season, after a dry season when limited crops can be grown. Rainfed farming promises farmers handsome yields and increased food availability for household consumption and income generation.

FAO in collaboration with the state government and financial backing of the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, the European Union Trust Fund and the Governments of Germany, Norway, Sweden and the United States of America, is supporting conflict-affected households in the region with a wide blend of nutrient-dense crops.

Since 2016, FAO has supported farmers in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states with inputs for crop production in a bid to boost food security and household nutrition in the region. In 2019, FAO is targeting nearly 100 000 farmers for crop support during the rainy season, enabling food availability for at least 6 to 8 months. However, our expectation on yields have been dampened by the ban on fertilizer movement and distribution in the three northeastern states.

FAO representative in Nigeria, Suffyan Koroma, at the launch of the rainy season programme on 19 June in Maiduguri, called the initiative central to enabling the recovery of agriculture-based livelihoods in the North-East. “The rainy season is the most important period for farmers and will have the greatest impact on their food security and nutrition. For the fourth year, FAO is proud to provide direct support to the production and income in the region,” Koroma said.

FAO’s rainy season crop assistance will provide IDPs, returnees and host communities with three types of crop production kits. In the first kit, more than 65 000 beneficiaries will choose from maize (10 kg), millet (8 kg) or sorghum (8 kg) plus cowpea (10 kg). Kit 2, primarily for women, contains vegetable seeds of nutritional crops such as okra and amaranth and the objective is to assist 15 000 households with access to fast-growing vegetables to enhance household nutrition through micronutrients like iron and potassium found in these crops. Kit 3 will give about 20 000 beneficiaries access to legumes, groundnut and sesame, which are highly preferred and have high market value.

Beneficiaries were selected in collaboration with local government authorities, using criteria such as safe access to farming land and levels of vulnerability. FAO’s seeds are certified, drought-resistant varieties with the promise of higher yield per hectare, compared with local seeds. Germination rate for most should be at least 70 percent, which is assured through FAO’s technical specification and pre-testing.

In 2019, FAO is seeking USD 32.4 million to assist 1.3 million people whose livelihoods depend on agriculture. Of this amount, only USD 3.4 million has been received so far. Around 2 million people are threatened by severe food insecurity if humanitarian efforts in the region are not improved.

Source : Fao