The World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have launched a joint effort to support conflict-affected people in northeastern Nigeria to boost their food production and reduce dependence on food assistance.
Using a 'twin track' approach, FAO has pledged to provide adequate seeds and fertilisers that can produce about eight months' worth of food during the 2018 rainy season, while WFP covers the food needs of households until these crucial harvests in September.
In Rann, Borno State and close to the Cameroonian border, WFP has promised to provide life-saving support to all 67,000 people living in the town. This includes families who have sought refuge in Rann as well as the host population.
According to statement made available to LEADERSHIP, farmers in Rann and more than 30 other locations can plant maize, sorghum, millet and cowpeas following the distributions. In most places, they have also received sesame, groundnuts, sweet pepper and watermelon seed for income generation.
Altogether, FAO and WFP are supporting around 600,000 conflict-affected persons in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States in north-eastern Nigeria during the rainy season.
"Families in north-east Nigeria have been affected by conflict for nine years, and many have gone through terrible times. We need to work harder and together to put people back on the track of self-reliance, to rebuild their livelihoods and to restore their dignity. This joint assistance by FAO and WFP is a step in that direction," WFP representative in Nigeria, Myrta Kaulard said.
"FAO is assisting both the growing number of farmers who have returned to their villages to resume production, as well as the many still forced to live in camps.
"In addition to distributing inputs like seed, we are expanding our farmer field school and savings and loans programmes in the region to strengthen both farming skills and access to finance for agri-business development," said FAO representative in Nigeria, Suffyan Koroma.
It is expected that during the rainy season spanning June to September, FAO will assist over 1 million people to become more food secure through farming. On its part, WFP will provide food and cash assistance to around 1.2 million food insecure and vulnerable people monthly.
Also, to prevent malnutrition, WFP is distributing specialised food to around 200,000 young children and almost 150,000 pregnant or breastfeeding women. In its 2018 appeal for north-eastern Nigeria, FAO requested $31.5 million to assist farmers recover from the impact of the conflict. About $13.2 million has been received, leaving a gap of $18.3 million.
WFP urgently requires for $49 million to continue life saving support until the end of 2018 to assist the most food insecure and vulnerable Nigerians.