FAO distributes 3976 farm implements, agro-inputs to farmers in Kaduna
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in partnership with the government of Kaduna State, through the United Nations Joint Project Food Africa Project, has built the capacity of 280 vegetable farmers and distributed 3,976 various farming implements and agro-inputs to enhance productivity and livelihood of beneficiaries in the state.
Smallholder farmers mostly suffer the hazard of post-harvest losses, due to lack of capacity to add value to their produce and modern farming equipment to ease the process.
This among other challenges has continued to hurdle intervention efforts to alleviate rural poverty through improved economic activities targeted at the vast population of farmers in the country.
The Food Africa Project is an innovative partnership between FAO, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Fund, International Labour Organisation (ILO), International Trade Centre (ITC), Sahara Foundation, the Roca Brothers and the Kaduna State Government.
It intends to empower youth and promote innovative Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) through more efficient agricultural chains in Nigeria.
FAO organised series of training, facilitated by Leventis Foundation, along the vegetable value chain for farmers in Jere community with the aim to promote replicable integrated solutions to agro-food value chain development, food security and nutrition, youth employment and poverty alleviation.
During the distribution of the items, the Deputy Governor of Kaduna state, Dr Hadiza Balarebe said the intervention is a welcome development as it would help address the challenges of post-harvest losses and enhance access to markets.
Dr Balarebe pledged that Government is committed to providing all that is necessary to make the program a success, adding “we are ready to work with you to expand it to other local governments and crops within the state to ensure the administration’s people-centred agenda it has set to achieve.”
The FAO Country Representative in Nigeria, Suffyan Koroma, said in order to foster a culture of exploiting the value chain in vegetable production, farmers especially women and youth should have the right capacities to take full advantage of the available opportunities for enhanced incomes.
He noted that the trainings were in line with the cardinal intent of the partnership to promote employment, improve livelihoods, and empower young women and men.
“The overall objective is to create opportunities for decent jobs and secure livelihoods with approaches for alleviating child hunger and undernutrition through better government policies, fair and accountable public institutions and inclusive and sustainable business practices,” Koroma stated.
Tasiu Haruna, a representative of the Tomato Growers Association in Kaduna State, said many of his members have been experiencing many losses at harvest and during marketing stages.
“With the training received on processing of vegetables, excess production can now be processed so that they don’t suffer losses in time of glut”, Haruna said.
The agriculture sector in Nigeria has great potentials for growth and product expansion, but several factors including information gaps, climate change effects, land ownership/tenure system, poor access to credit and of course, value chain gaps, all militate against it.
The Food Africa Project aims at improving farmers capacities in improving productivity and reducing post-harvest losses.
Items distributed include 2500 Plastic crates, 246 knapsack sprayers, 123 Water pump, 246 Wheelbarrow, 246 Watering cans, 123 specially made Jab Planters, 246 Garden Fork, 246 Head pan.
Others are 738 litres of bio-pesticides, 52.5kg of improved seeds of Okro, Tomato and Pepper.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Mary Joseph said the training and implements, as well as other inputs received from FAO, will go a long way not only to improve her production but also help in reducing post-harvest losses she has been facing in her farming business.