The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP) on Wednesday, July 12, 2018 established joint support to augment food production for conflict-affected people in the northeast.
WFP Representative in Nigeria, Myrta Kaulard, and the FAO counterpart, Suffyan Koroma, made this known in a statement issued in Abuja by Ms IngerMarie Vennize, the Head of Communication of WFP Nigeria.
The representatives said that the support sought to provide seeds and fertilisers to improve on food production in the 2018 rainy season and meet household needs till harvest time in September.
According to them, FAO and WFP are supporting around 600,000 conflict-affected persons in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states in northeast Nigeria during the rainy season.
Kaulard said: ‘‘Families in northeast Nigeria have been affected by conflict for nine years, and many have gone through terrible times.
‘‘We need to work harder and together to put people back on the track of self-reliance, to rebuild their livelihoods and to restore their dignity.
‘‘This joint assistance by FAO and WFP is a step in that direction.”
Koroma said “FAO is assisting both the growing number of farmers who have returned to their villages to resume production, as well as the many still forced to live in camps.
“In addition, we are expanding our farmer field school and savings and loans programmes in the region to strengthen both farming skills and access to finance for agri-business development.”
Kaulard and Koroma said that WFP still provides life-saving support to 67,000 people who live in Rann town in Borno.
Meanwhile, FAO provided seeds and fertilisers to households in Rann, who had access to land and who through a community-based assessment, proved capable of growing food.
They noted that the households consisted of families who sought refuge in Rann, as well as the host population.
“Farmers in Rann and in more than 30 other locations can plant maize, sorghum, millet and cowpeas following the distributions.
‘‘In most places, they also received sesame, groundnuts, sweet pepper and watermelon seed for income generation.’’
They noted that FAO would assist one million people to become more food secure through farming in the rainy season that span from June to September.
They also said that the organisation would distribute disease and drought-tolerant varieties of crop seed and fertiliser using a kit system.
‘‘In Kit 1, FAO is distributing maize, millet or sorghum alongside cowpea seed and fertiliser. Kits 2 and 3 are solely for women-headed households and contain vegetable and cash crop seed, respectively.
‘‘The vegetable kit features okra and amaranth, a green leafy vegetable, income-boosting groundnut and sesame, relished by women for their good market prices, round out Kit 3.
‘‘WFP provides cash assistance to 1.2 million insecure and vulnerable people every month, distribute specialised food to 200,000 children and 150, 000 pregnant or breastfeeding women, to prevent malnutrition.’’
They said although FAO requested $31. 5million to assist farmers recover from impact of conflict in 2018, 13. $2 million had been received with balance of $18. 3 million left.
They, however, said that WFP required $49 million to continue lifesaving support until the end of 2018, in the bid to assist the most food insecure and vulnerable Nigerians.
By Fortune Abang