With over a million persons displaced and depending on international donor organisations for support due to the ongoing security crisis in north-eastern Nigeria, the European Union (EU), Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), UN Women, and the Borno State Government are collaborating to provide food for troubled households across the state.
In an issued statement by the FAO, having taken into account the lean season and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on households vulnerable to food shortages, an EU-funded initiative to be collaboratively implemented by the FAO, the World Food Programme (WFP), UN Women and the Borno State Government, will enable 10,000 households to access a monthly basket of fresh food from local farmers to help them overcome food insecurity.
The statement said, ‘Having disrupted food supply chains and limited access to local markets, the [Covid-19] pandemic threatens to worsen food security conditions in fragile regions like northeast Nigeria. The initiative will significantly boost the food and nutrition options available to benefitting households, especially during the current lean season when household food stocks have typically been depleted and farmers prepare for a new farming season.
‘The fresh food voucher programme was also devised to revive rural markets that have been disrupted by the crisis and create market linkages to enable smallholder farmers to sell their products through a supply chain mechanism that engages local vendors. Among these smallholder producers are farmers empowered with poultry production and crop production inputs received through the same EU-funded initiative.
‘Through this collaboration between local vendors and farmers, vendors purchase the products from the farmers at pre-agreed intervals and prices that are informed by the findings of a market assessment’.
Commenting on the initiative, FAO Representative ad interim in Nigeria and Cameroon, Al Hassan Cisse, said, ‘We are employing an integrated approach that includes engaging and empowering local smallholders in tackling malnutrition, food insecurity and poverty. This approach ensures that communities are key actors in the rebuilding process and therefore guarantees the sustainability of our interventions in the region’.
The initiative is part of a comprehensive development initiative by the European Union Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) to help restore livelihoods for farming households in the state through agricultural support and capacity building.
Source: Metro Watch
Photo source: United Nations Photo