The Spanish International Development Agency, the National Association of Nigerian Traders and the ECOWAS Regional Agency for Agriculture and Food have empowered internally- displaced persons with farm inputs for the next planting season.
The move is part of the efforts to empower about 300 IDPs in a manner that would enable them to support the agriculture transformation agenda of the Federal Government.
Speaking at an event in Abuja where the farm inputs were distributed to the IDPs, the President of NANT, Ken Ukaoha, said the farm inputs would help to ensure a more sustainable means of livelihood for the displaced persons.
He said one of the major objectives of the initiative was to provide the option of agriculture livelihoods for selected households in the two IDP camps in Abuja as well as build their capacity for improved productivity along maize and groundnut value chains.
The move, he noted, would also enhance food security mechanisms for the IDPs and the host community through agronomic training and agriculture extension services.
He said, “This project is expected to improve the livelihoods of the IDPs, empower them with the capacity to create jobs, improve food security, reduce the dependence of the IDPs on handouts from government and other philanthropic organisations, increase food production and income generation.
“The project seeks to build their capacity beyond what they originally knew of farming by providing training in improved technology that would results in improved productivity along with selected maize and groundnut value chains.
“Moreso, we intend to link the beneficiaries to off-takers who will buy off their produce after harvest.
“Beneficiaries would also be encouraged to reserve seeds for the upcoming planting season using improved traditional methods. The households would not only increase their immediate food stock but will be trained to build on existing local strategies and preserve and store foods to sustain them during the rainy and planting seasons.”
The Spanish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Marcelo Cabanas, said the empowerment programme was based on the conviction that it would support the objective of the Federal Government in creating wealth for its people and contribute to food security.
He said the Spanish cooperation programme was to support agriculture, adding that the government of Spain had committed resources to improve food security in the country.
He also called on the host communities to provide internally–displaced persons at the camps who were willing to farm access to land for cultivation.
He said, “We are supporting 300 people in agriculture and the project supports financing and purchasing of seeds and farm tools.
“We urge the host communities to help the displaced people with access to land.”Punch