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Supporting vulnerable men and women farmers in northeastern Nigeria

After Aisa ya Maida lost her husband during an attack on her home in Magumeri, a Local Government Authority (LGA) in Nigeria's Borno State, she fled to Konduga, a neighbouring LGA, with her seven children.

An IDP woman receiving seeds and fertilizers from FAO in Borno State, Nigeria. (© FAO / Sonia Nguyen)

She resettled in an informal camp, but with no income and few belongings, she struggled to meet her family’s needs, and had to rely on food assistance for survival. Once the security situation in Konduga had improved, she was eager to start farming to improve her difficult situation.

Like Aisa ya Maida, some 1.8 million people have been displaced by violence in northeastern Nigeria, and the impact on the food security and nutrition situation has been devastating. As part of a series of coordinated responses launched in 2017, FAO has been working with thousands of households in the area to restore agricultural livelihoods. This included a campaign, begun in October 2017, to help 117 000 farming families (about 820 000 people) grow rice and vegetables during the off-season.

Through the campaign, Aisa ya Maida received vegetable seeds (including amaranth, cabbage, carrot, okra, onion and tomato), along with a 25 kg bag of fertilizer. Community members helped her by lending her agricultural tools, and she was able to secure farmland through a sharecropping arrangement that was negotiated through the Bullama (community leader).

Her eagerness to learn made her a model farmer within the community, and soon enough, her farm was flourishing. Many women in the village approached her to show them how to carry out basic activities such as preparing vegetable seedling beds, transplanting them into the main farm and tending to different crops.

“When I started irrigated farming many other women admired my farm and wanted to join me. I encouraged them to form a group for themselves, guiding them on farming activities,” she said proudly. Aisa ya Maida now supports 30 other women in the development of their farms.

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