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FAO-supported farmers over perform in the rainy season, enter 2020 more food secure

FAO-supported farmers over perform in the rainy season and enter 2020 more food secure

03/03/2020

Farmers in northeastern Nigeria who received training, seed and fertilizer from FAO had significantly greater harvests than their peers, a 2019 rainy season yield assessment has revealed. An estimated 98 400 FAO-supported households have entered 2020 less vulnerable, having cultivated and harvested staple crops such as maize and sorghum as well as vegetables like amaranth. With the improved seed and NPK fertilizer distributed in the northeastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, the majority of supported households have generated an estimated six months’ worth of food, resulting in greater self-sufficiency, food security and income availability.

After accounting for an average household size of seven, the total number of beneficiaries reached was of about 682 000 people, with female-headed households constituting 35 percent of all beneficiaries. The FAO programme also had a significant impact on IDP and non-IDP households alike, with 28, 49 and 23 percent of households classified as returnee, host community and internally displaced, respectively. Adaptable, and drought- and disease-resistant seeds were provided for cereals (maize, millet and sorghum), pulses (cowpea, groundnut and sesame) and vegetables (okra and amaranth). To enrich the soil and yields, the Organization also equipped each household with a 25-kg bag of NPK fertilizer. The seed and fertilizer, coupled with extension support, enabled beneficiary farms to yield more than other non-FAO supported farms using less productive varieties and production systems.

Impressive results

Across crop types and per hectare, FAO-supported farmers harvested an average of nearly 22.7 tonnes, almost double the estimated production of the same crops and under similar production conditions of non-FAO supported farmers. The results underscore the urgent need to provide improved seed to households affected by the armed insurgency in the North-East, a region where nearly 2.6 million people reportedly experienced food insecurity between October and December 2019, according to the November 2019 Cadre Harmonisé report.

Under the FAO seed and fertilizer assistance programme, sorghum production expanded, with FAO-supported farmers producing over 1.2 tonnes on average, nearly double the harvest produced by non-FAO supported farmers. In the case of maize, farmers using inputs distributed by FAO produced an average of 2.8 tonnes per hectare, a 22-percent increase compared with the production of non-FAO supported farmers. Okra production was also impressive with FAO-supported farmers recording an average of over 7.4 tonnes per hectare, a 68-percent increase compared with unsupported farmers. FAO’s beneficiaries also reported 6.5 tonnes per hectare of amaranth, approximately 325 percent more than other farmers.

“As women were the primary beneficiaries of okra and other vegetable seeds, the increased yield is expected to have had a remarkable impact on access to income from vegetable sales and we believe this has led to increased nutrition for women and their families,” said Suffyan Koroma, FAO Representative in Nigeria.

Koroma also thanked FAO’s resource partners for the 2019 rainy season, including the European Union Trust Fund for Nigeria, the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, the United States Agency for International Development, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the Governments of Norway and Germany.

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