From: AgroNature Admin
As part of its 2018 Wet Season Farming programme, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) says it is targeting 1 million people through free distribution of farm inputs to 149,730 households
The free distribution of fertilizers and seeds are meant to support rural farmers, especially women in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno States.
Speaking at the official launch of the programme in Maiduguri, FAO Country Representative, Suffyan Koroma, said the intervention will enable the beneficiaries grow about eight months worth of food during the region 2018 rainy season.
Due to the alarming humanitarian needs faced by agriculture-based households in northeastern, where an estimated 2.9 million people are projected to face heightened food insecurity between the May to September, FAO requested USD 31.5 million in its 2018 Appeal for the country. So far, 13.2 million has been mobilised, of which some funding is a carryover from 2017.
However, Koroma noted that in order to deliver the inputs, FAO used a kit system comprising crop seed varieties appropriate for the agro-ecological zones of the northeast.
In a report from the FAO verified handle, Koroma explained that the farmers were supported via a special approach. “In kit one, farmers could choose between millet, maize or sorghum seed, given with a 25 kilogram bag of fertilizer.
“In kit two, women farmers were offered seed for nutritionally beneficial vegetables like amaranthus and okra – high in micronutrients like iron, potassium and Vitamin C while Kit three includes seed for groundnut or sesame and meant for only women.”
Koroma added that, to receive agricultural inputs in the 2018 rainy season, farmers were selected based on their safe access to land for agriculture, ability to farm in the season and the scale of their need or vulnerability.
He said the seed being distributed by FAO has a high seeding rate per hectare and are drought, pest and disease tolerant, adding that by using a ‘twin-track’ approach, FAO is working jointly with the World Food Programme to distribute agricultural inputs alongside food aid, thereby reducing the risk of households employing negative coping practices such as consuming or selling the seed and fertilizer received.
“A restoration of livelihoods, particularly in agriculture will be central for a full recovery in the region,” Koroma said.
He noted that the rainy season is a major opportunity to strengthen livelihoods in the selected northeastern states.
“For farmers who are able to farm this season, FAO’s programme will reinforce access to quality inputs which will boost yields and household’s food and nutrition status,” he said.