ICRC assist over 50,000 IDP farmers with 2mmt of seeds, others

The International Committee of The Red Cross, ICRC, has disclosed of assisting vulnerable farmers amongst Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, with 2 million metric tonnes of seeds and other inputs in over six States.

This was made known by an agronomist at ICRC, Henry Shalma, during One-day ICRC Media Workshop for Agricultural Correspondents Association of Nigeria, ACAN, held in Abuja.

Shalma explained how ICRC’s intervention has transformed lives of vulnerable farmers who have been hit by conflicts across the country.

The vulnerable farmers according to him were assisted in Borno, Yobe, Bauchi, Plateau, Nasarawa, and Benue States including South-South region of the country.

He said: “ICRC assists vulnerable farmers with farm inputs including seeds.

“We look at those who are vulnerable, and the idea is to see how to strengthen their capacity to resume their farming activities.

“We are in Borno, Yobe, Bauchi, Plateau, Nasarawa, Benue including the South-South region of the country.

“Annually we give over 2 million metric tonnes of seeds, and on these seeds, for us we try to be nutrition sensitive in our programming because families are already affected would have no food to eat.

“We try to make sure that even the food they cultivate would have some balanced nutrients in it.

“We give assorted grains, oil crops and vegetables to farners.”

Speaking on the issue of access to land by IDP farmers, he said cash is given to farmers to rent the lands for cultivation.

“In terms of land the farmers indicate to us, especially the Internally Displaced Persons, say they need land, but the host community after they have chosen the best gives them lands that are either not fertile or distant from their locations.

“So what we do is when we give inputs along the seeds and also integrate cash elements into it, and the cash is to enable them meet those needs we are not able to meet.

“For 2022 we gave to every farmer N75,000, of the over 50,000 farmers we are supporting.

“We have improved on our input basket as well as food basket we are giving to these farmer population. So 2022 is higher compared with other years.”

He also said ICRC work with National Agricultural Seeds Council, NASC, Nongovernmental Organizations, NGOs, Farmers’ Organisations, which he made it known that they have signed Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with them to strengthen their collaboration with ICRC in supporting vulnerable farmers who survived conflicts.

“Basically, the ICRC gives farm inputs to farmers in kind, and use agricultural development based value chain approach and activities, where the farmer cultivates a realizes bumper harvest in his farm.

“The value chain approach is a sustainable approach for the exit plan of the ICRC in Nigeria, and it is to consolidate on our usual seeds and other inputs we provide, and we are graduating into value chain supporting activities”, he said.

Also according to ICRC Nigeria operational facts and figures from January-December 2021, ICRC vaccinated and treated 559, 833 heads of livestock including sheep, goats and cattle, which the veterinary hospital in Maiduguri, Borno State, and that has contributed to improvement in animal health services for 102, 468 livestock keepers.

It also made it known that 126 community animal health workers profited from animal healthcare services and disease detection training, while 1,674 community volunteers received training on best infant-feeding practices and identifying signs of malnutrition. 212 farmers benefited from training in improved agricultural techniques.

Then 174, 304 people provided with food assistance, and in the areas with functioning markets , 288, 048 people received cash assistance to purchase food and other essential items.

According to the report, 383, 164 farmers provided with seeds including vegetable seeds, staple seeds, and cash crop seeds including agricultural tools- rakes and hoes. 47, 718 farmers received cash to purchase additional inputs not provided by ICRC.

While 197, 000 people received soap to improve hygiene and reduce COVID-19 risks and 150, 000 people provided with aqua-tabs (water treatment tablets) and were sensitized during emergency cholera response. Also, 579, 000 people provided with access to clean water, sanitation and shelter through the rehabilitation and construction of 12 solar water supply systems, 44 hand pumps, and 385 latrines. 163,000 IDPs, host community members and returnees had improved access to water.

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