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Food security: Caritas offers 2,000 Badagry farmers improved seedlings, inputs

The Catholic Caritas Nigeria on Saturday, May 11, 2024, offered improved seedlings of corn, groundnut and sprayer equipment to farmers in Badagry, Lagos, to boost food production.

ActionAid Agriculture

Caritas Nigeria made the gesture at the flag-off of the body’s second year rural and vulnerable community project tagged “Building Sustainable Livelihoods in Vibrant Community (B-SLiC)” meant for the states of Lagos and Ekiti in South-West Nigeria.

The programme, implemented based on the needs assessment of the people, trained farmers on the production of organic fertiliser, pesticides, herbicides, animal feeds using available materials and methods of application on crops to get desired.

The programme, tagged “Climate Smart Agricultural Approach”, attracted farmers and local government officials.

Speaking at the event, the Priest in charge of St Anthony Catholic Church, Kwene Badagry, Lagos, Rev. Fr. Rome Ndi-Onyekuru (SMA), said that celebrating a Mass to flag-off the programme was an act of gratitude to God.

According to him, the gesture is from those who have to those who don’t have, to make good out of life.

Ndi-Onyekuru urged the beneficiaries to ensure the inputs were put to good use in order to increase their food production and live above hunger.

“I have blessed the inputs and the hands of the persons that will make use of them, for God to multiple and expand, for the benefit of mankind.

“I thank the sponsors of the project, the Conral Hilton Foundation of the U.S, for their thoughtfulness in remembering the poor people.

“It is my expectation to see that you grow in social status with the proceeds and, in like manner, assist others around to be part of the gesture in years to come,” he said.

In his remarks at the event, the Executive Secretary of Caritas Nigeria, Dr Uchechukwu Obodoechina, said that the body, with its goodwill, would continue to impact lives in special ways.

Obodoechina, represented at event by the Caritas Senior Advisor, Humanitarian Services, Mr Friday Alhassan, urged the beneficiaries to reciprocate the gesture by ensuring that they did not sell the items, but make the best of it.

He said that the organisation would deploy field and extension workers to assist the farmers in areas they found difficult and also monitor the advancement of the programme in the community with a view to getting an evaluation.

Also speaking at the event, Chief Michael Avoshe, the Traditional Head of Topo, Badagry, said that the beneficiaries were the most vulnerable in the community who owned farmlands.

Avoshe, a representative of the Oba Akaran of Badagry, assured that the community leaders would be mandated to render every assistance to the officials of the programme to see it grow.

He thanked the Caritas Nigeria for finding the area worthy to implement the project.

Also speaking at the event, a beneficiary, Mr Bayo Shonke, said that the programme would aid beneficiaries grow in productivity.

Shonke commended the organisers for the up-to-date training and the selection of those he called “core farmers”, as partakers of the project.

Caritas Nigeria, formed by the Nigerian Catholic Bishops Conference, is a humanitarian arm of the church.

It is a non-profit organisation, with focus on lifting the poor in the society.

By Uchenna Eletuo

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