Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at CBARDP (Community Based Agricultural and Rural Development Program), FAO’s implementing partner in Borno, Salisu Bukar Mohammed Ngulde, says: “Most of the crops are grown by women who make up 40 per cent of the project. They have already started harvesting their crops from the dry season interventions and making money. They are now able to make more income, save feeding costs and have surplus in the home to take care of other basic needs. FAO is collaborating with the governments of Belgium, Ireland and Japanese to support these farmers.” He described the intervention as very successfully, hoping that more funds would be available to take care of the larger number of internally displaced persons, returnees, female headed households, youths and the host community who are in dire need of support. Abba Mursi, one of the beneficiaries of the interventions, recounts how he flew his community in Bama after an attack two and half years ago and then took refuge in Gonglonglon Bulamari village in Jere Local Government Area, some 75 kilometres away from Bama. “I fled from Bama on foot and left everything behind, everything.” Mursi’s desire of returning to productive life was nurtured by FAO. His carrot plot is doing well, less than three months after he received seedlings and fertilizers support from FAO. “I got assistance of assorted seeds and fertilizers from FAO. I started farming the seeds when they were distributed last January. It is from the farm that I have harvested these fresh carrots you see. The fertilizer and seed helped me to carry out farming in the dry season. My group is also thankful for the wash borehole provided by FAO.” He is grateful to the Gonglongon Bulamari people for accepting him and gave him access to a farmland where he hopes to eke out a living. Mele Muktar has a similar story. Originally from Koshave, Mafa Local Government Area, over 50 kilometers away, he settled in Gonglongon about two years ago. He has only been on the FAO supported farm for one month. His seedling beds are doing well. He hopes to transfer them to the main site in days to come and is already looking to a good harvest. “What I received was a complete package from FAO. We get food support from a number of organizations but this agriculture assistance means everything to me,” he says As part of its dry season interventions in support to internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees and vulnerable host families in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, FAO provided with capacity building, vegetable seeds, fertilisers and irrigation support for the dry season. Mursi and Muktar are some of the farmers who embraced the project with great enthusiasm and less than two months into the programme, the enthusiasm has started paying off. The farmers, mostly youths and women, are already looking to a good harvest. The early signs of a potentially good harvest are evident by the crisps and fresh carrots, huge cabbages and other vegies being gathered from the fields. Vegetables seedlings covering carrot, okra, amaranthus, sorrel, roselle, onion, tomato, pepper, watermelon and cabbage were given to each farer in a master kit. Deputy FAO Representative to Nigeria, Nourou Macki Tall,said: “Supporting vulnerable host communities, displaced populations and returnees in northeast Nigeria to resume their agriculture activities pave the way to durable solutions. Agriculture cannot be an afterthought. This is the starting point for the implementation of longer-term activities that contribute to strengthening the population’s resilience.”
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