By Franca Ofili
The National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTs) has supported 300 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Kuje and Durumi camps with agricultural inputs to empower them to improve their livelihoods.
The support is in collaboration by NANTs, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Spainish International Development Agency.
Mr Ken Ukaoha, the National President of NANTs, said research showed that 90 per cent of the people in IDPs camps were traditionally farmers before they were displaced from their communities.
Ukaoha said the objective of the project was to provide agriculture livelihood for IDPs households in the camps and build their capacity for improved productivity in selected crops, such as maize and groundnut.
He said it would enhance food and nutrition security mechanism for IDPs and host community households through agronomic trainings and agriculture extension service.
Ukaoha said it would also foster access to agricultural tools and coping mechanism between the IDPs and their host communities.
“This project is expected to improve the livelihoods of the IDPs, empower them with the capacity to create jobs, improve food and nutrition security, and reduce the dependence of the IDPs households on government and other philanthropic organisarion.
“It will increase food production and income generation, improve collaboration and co-existence with host community, promote gradual exit from IDP status.
“The project seeks to build their capacity beyond what they originally knew of farming by providing trainings on improved technology that will result in improved productivity,’’ he said.
Ukaoha said the association would link the beneficiaries to off-takers who would buy off their produce after harvest.
According to him, the beneficiaries will be encouraged to reserve seeds for the upcoming planting season using improved traditional methods courtesy of the administered post-harvest training.
He said the major observation was that government’s official interventions for IDPs were mostly targeted at the camps located in the most volatile areas with little attention to those in less volatile areas such as Abuja.
Ukaoha said the private and public agencies strategic actions for disaster victims could best be described as a fire-brigade approach while humanitarian agencies responses focused on handouts which served immediate needs.
He said that managing disaster victims required not only relief materials but political commitment and consideration for sustainability and self-reliance of the victims.
“Together we shall sustain this nation and revive agriculture as a means of the nation’s economic recovery,’’ Ukaoha said.
Mrs Ruth Agbo, the Women Leader of the association, said the project was another landmark approach towards ensuring that food security was taken to the next level in terms of sustainability.
Agbo said that it would also bring succour to the vulnerable and less privileged.
She advised the beneficiaries to make adequate use of the inputs given to them.
Mr Marcelino Cabanos, the Spanish Ambassador to Nigeria, said Spain had committed recourses to improve food security and support 300 people in agriculture in the camps.
Cabanos said that the country supported the project with finance to purchase seeds and farm tools.
He urged the host communities to help facilitate access to land for the beneficiaries.
The beneficiaries received improved seedlings, hoes and fertilisers at the event. (NAN)