TO improve access to nutritious food and revive the livelihood of Cameroonian refugees and their host communities in Nigeria, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has distributed farm tools to 1,000 households in seven local government areas in Cross River State.
The intervention was carried out under the joint project “Agriculture and Livelihood Support to Cameroonian Refugees and Host Communities in Cross River, Benue and Taraba States”.
Implemented by FAO in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as part of the ‘Delivery as One’ (DaO) concept adopted by the United Nations system in Nigeria, the project is also facilitated by governments of the catchment States.
The intervention targets seven local governments in Cross River. They are Oguma, Ikom, Obanliku, Boki, Etung, Akamkpa and Calabar.
In Benue, Ikyogen settlement was targeted, where the state government has resettled the refugees.
The FAO Country Representative in Nigeria, Suffyan Koroma, said the items are carefully selected to assuage the livelihood challenges of the refugees, especially “the most vulnerable women.”
He said the micro gardens would support the food and nutrition needs of the households and increase the resilience of the affected population to threats and crisis.
target beneficiaries were trained on backyard gardening, nutrition
sensitive agriculture and food systems, agriculture value chain and market
access and mainstreaming gender and protection in agriculture & livelihood.
Agricultural zones that would enable agricultural producers, processors, aggregators and distributors to operate in the same vicinity in order to reduce transaction costs and share business development services for increased productivity and competitiveness is in the offing as the African Development Bank is collaborating with the Federal Government to set up such zones across the country.
The zones known as Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs) is expected to attract investments from private agro-industrialists/entrepreneurs, bring adequate infrastructure to rural areas of high agricultural potential and contribute to the economic and social development of the areas.
A workshop was held recently in Abuja to address the categorisation and location of the SAPZs, which are meant to kickstart the agriculture sector.
Speaking at the event, Nigeria’s Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, lauded the efforts of the African Development Bank and called for all hands to be on deck in the sustainable implementation of the initiative.
“I am proud that the SAPZ project is taking off, with strong collaboration with the African Development Bank. The project is indeed a promising one for the future of agriculture in Nigeria,” he said.
The well-attended forum presented all stakeholders with the opportunity to follow up on outcomes of previous design interventions. The workshop was attended, among others, by Afreximbank, the International Finance Corporation, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Development Bank of Nigeria and the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria.
The Senior Special Adviser to the President of the African Development Bank, Oyebanji Oyeyinka-Oyelaran, outlined the strategy for Nigeria, saying it would focus on developing key value chains and select the most promising agricultural clusters.
“The strategy will also promote inclusivity, have a positive multiplier effect in the zones of influence, by increasing yields through the use of modern technologies – improved seed, fertilizers, mechanization, digitization, irrigation and maximize positive engagement of youth and women,” he said.
He further explained that value addition through better handling of post-harvest losses and processing of the commodities would be a key feature of this program in order to boost competitiveness.
Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones are integrated development initiatives designed to concentrate agro-processing activities within areas of high agricultural potential to boost productivity, integrate production, processing and marketing of selected commodities.
“The establishment of SAPZs in Nigeria will boost the structural transformation of the economy by providing opportunities for public and private sector investment in agriculture,” said Ebrima Faal, Senior Director for the African Development Bank in Nigeria.
“When fully operational, the SAPZs will enhance national food and nutritional security, optimize the export of value-added agricultural commodities and improve the quality of livelihoods through wealth creation for rural farming communities,” he added.-->