FAO’s fresh food distributions boost market access for dry season farmers in northeastern Nigeria

In the forthcoming rainy season, FAO aims to assist about 92 000 households with crop seed and fertilizer delivered through direct distributions, as well as through seed fairs where farmers can obtain their ‘seed of choice’ from FAO-supported vendors.

Women with vouchers in hand assemble to collect their fresh foods in New Stadium camp. ©FAO/Patrina Pink


Fatima Mohammed fled from Rann more than three months ago when insurgents attacked her village of Kalabargi. Bussed by the military to Maiduguri, they settled in Gubio Camp, just on the outskirts of the city. Since nearly the start of the year, Fatima has lived in a small tent made from her family’s clothing, propped up by sticks. She receives food assistance but it is usually cereal-based. The mother of two, as well as 3 000 other people in Gubio and New Stadium Camps close to the Borno State capital,  benefited from a week’s supply of fresh foods including eggs, sweet potatoes, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes and other locally sourced produce. “This is the first time in three months that I will be able to eat fresh food like eggs and vegetables”, said Fatima. When asked what she was most excited to cook, her answer came quickly. “I will boil the potatoes and cabbage for myself and the babies this evening”, she said, unable to conceal a smile.

FAO’s initiative was supported by the Government of Switzerland through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Beneficiaries were registered electronically and received voucher cards that they later redeemed for fresh foods. Through these distributions, FAO provides a market for smallholders, especially for producers of fresh foods that typically face high perishability and unstable prices. Some of the food items were purchased directly from locations like the vast Gambouru produce market in Maiduguri, with a State food safety team monitoring the quality of the purchases at point of sale and during the distributions.

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