FAO in Nigeria


Ms. Pauline Torehall, Minister Counsellor at European Union Delegation to Nigeria/ECOWAS and Mr. Gaku Sato, First Secretary (Economic/ Development Cooperation), Embassy of Japan in Nigeria with a farmer at a high-level donor visit to FAO project site

FAO scaling up assistance for internally displaced persons in   North East Nigeria to return to agricultural production


February 17, 2017, Abuja- Buoyed by the prospect of restarting   life through agricultural livelihoods, many internally displaced persons   (IDPs) in North East Nigeria are returning to farms supported by the Food and   Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Under the ongoing Restoring Agricultural Livelihoods of IDPs,   Returnees and Vulnerable Host Families in North East Nigeria project, FAO is   reaching 174 400 people with vegetable seeds and irrigation support for the   dry season.

Ahead of the upcoming rainy season, FAO is planning to   considerably scale up its interventions in the region to ensure sure that   those who return to farms receive the support they need to plant in time and   produce food to sustain themselves and their families.

With more than 80 percent of northeastern Nigeria's rural   population depending on crop or livestock farming, investing in agriculture   now is critical to tackling food insecurity.

"We are approaching a   critical period in the agricultural calendar. This is our main opportunity to   tackle these truly staggering levels of food insecurity by helping at-risk   families to produce their own food. The rainy season begins in May-June.   Farmers need to have seeds, fertilizers and tools in their hands by then so   they can plant. If they miss this season, humanitarian costs are just going   to keep rising and rising into 2018. Nutrition outcomes will worsen and this   will affect today's children for the rest of their lives," Dominique Burgeon,   Director of Emergency and Rehabilitation at FAO said during a high-level   donor visit to a FAO project site Fariya. The delegates were visiting Borno   State to see the impact of conflict and violence on civilian populations and   the response by national and local authorities and international   organizations.

FAO is supporting 2,000   farmers in Fariya, a village in Jere Local government, just a few kilometres   outside of Maiduguri town. With funding from the Governments of Belgium,   Ireland and Japan, the intervention aims to enhance the self-sufficiency of   returnees and vulnerable host families, women and youths through training and   critical inputs including seedlings, water pumps and fertilizer for vegetable   production.

Pauline Torehall, Minister Counsellor/Head of Politics,   Information and Communication Section at the European Union Delegation to   Nigeria and ECOWAS, stated: "I think that this [agricultural intervention] is   exactly what is needed in this part of Nigeria where so many people have lost   their sources of livelihood because of the crisis. Women and youths are very   vulnerable here and they absolutely need a new livelihood."

Torehall observed that the IDPs in Fariya were warmly welcomed   into the community, highlighting how that gave them a chance to restart their   lives again.

"I think it looks like a very good programme and a good   alternative. It is not complicated to do. There are lots of lands here and   there is water. With seeds and tools, it is possible to again start   livelihood," she said.

Gaku Sato, First   Secretary (Economic/ Development Cooperation), Embassy of Japan in Nigeria   said:  "I feel very honoured to be here because this project is partly   funded by the Japanese government.  The Japanese people will be very   happy to see how their intervention has made a difference for local people   and local community and also IDPs people."

"Our biggest challenge   is funding. We know we can do more but we don't have the resources to do it.   Failure to intervene now with agricultural livelihoods support will have a   broad negative impact – lack of economic and employment opportunities, and   possible harmful consequences including increased rural to urban migration   and youth radicalization and enrolment in armed groups, resulting in   continued civil unrest", said Mr Burgeon, adding, "this is my second visit in   just a couple of months and I can see not just the tremendous potential for   agricultural production in this areas, but also the resilience and strength   of local populations who are determined to take this opportunity to build   more prosperous, food secure futures."

In 2017, FAO is asking for a total of USD 62 million under   the Humanitarian Response Plan for Nigeria. Of this, USD 20 million   is urgently required to reach 1.9 million people during the upcoming main   planting season starting in June 2017. Missing planting opportunities during   the next agricultural season will result in a degradation of food insecurity   and, therefore, humanitarian costs will continue rising into 2018.

Dominique Burgeon will represent FAO during the next Oslo   Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region to be held on 24   February 2017. The objective of the conference is to draw attention towards   the urgent humanitarian crisis within Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, and   to generate support for the needs outlined by the Humanitarian Response Plans   and appeals for the respective countries. In addition to emphasizing the need   for an immediate response, the Conference will highlight the need to foster   resilience, to address medium- to long-term development needs and identify   durable solutions for the affected people.


Emeka Anuforo

National Communication Officer

FAO Nigeria


[email protected]

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