FAO will assist over 1 million people to grow up to eight months’ worth of food during northeastern Nigeria’s 2018 rainy season

FAO will assist over 1 million people to grow up to eight months’ worth of food during northeastern Nigeria’s 2018 rainy season

28/06/2018

Long-awaited seasonal rains are making their way across northeastern Nigeria where millions of farmers eagerly anticipate the chance to break ground. After a prolonged period of Boko Haram-related conflict, markets are reopening and a significant number of farmers have returned to the homelands to resume cultivation. FAO and its partners have targeted about 149 730 farming households (over 1 million people) for crucial distributions of seed and fertilizer in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states for the 2018 rainy season (June‒August) ‒ the main planting season for smallholder farmers who mainly rely on rainfed agriculture. This will allow families to have enough food to last 6‒8 months in normal seasonal conditions.

FAO will deliver inputs the form of three types of kits, comprising crop seed varieties appropriate for the agro-ecological zones of the north. In Kit 1, farmers can choose between millet, maize or sorghum seed, and will be given cowpea seed alongside a 25-kg bag of fertilizer. In Kit 2, female farmers are being provided with amaranth and okra seed that are high in micronutrients like iron, potassium and vitamin C. Kit 3 includes groundnut or sesame seed and will be distributed only to women. With a high market value, groundnut and sesame will bring in much-need income for crisis-affected female-headed households in the three states.

Beneficiary 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. The seed being distributed by FAO have a high seeding rate per hectare and are drought-, pest- and disease-tolerant. 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,” said Suffyan Koroma, FAO Representative in Nigeria, during a message celebrating the launch of FAO’s rainy season programme on 27 June. Koroma shared 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.

Due to the alarming humanitarian needs faced by agriculture-based households in northeastern Nigeria, where an estimated 2.9 million people will face heightened food insecurity between June and August, 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.