Borno Government said that about 120,000 households affected by insurgency, benefitted from a three-year livelihood support by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), funded by the European Union (EU).
The state Deputy Governor, Alhaji Umar Kadafur, made this known on Tuesday in Maiduguri while speaking at the occasion to celebrate the programme, titled “Restoring and promoting sustainable agriculture-based livelihoods for food security, employment, and nutrition improvement in Borno state”, organized by the FAO.
Kadafur said the programme has enhanced food security for benefitting households in the 13 Local Government Area.
He expressed the state government’s appreciation to EU, FAO and other implementing partners like UN Women and United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) for sustaining support to agriculture in the state and assured them of sustainable government collaboration.
In a speech, the Borno Commissioner for Agriculture, Alhaji Bukar Talba, also lauded the intervention which he said impacted positively on beneficiaries who are mostly Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and host communities.
In his remarks, the Country Representative of FAO in Nigeria, Mr Fred Kafeero, said the project to enhance food security and strengthen resilience among conflict-affect households in Borno started in 2018 and is funded by EU through the European Trust Fund (EU-TF) for Africa and implemented by FAO, UN Women and the WFP.
“After three years of successful implementation, we thought it is now time that we reflect on the journey so far by looking at the achievements we have managed to record on the ground and the challenges we met along the way.
“This way, we may come up with a successful plan for sustaining the results for bigger impact and reach.
“This project has managed to transform the lives of people in thousands of households in the state through crop production, livestock restocking, agri-business development, safe access to fuel and energy, irrigation, among others.
“With relative stability, many people are now settling down again in their homelands. Someone who was not able to afford a meal while in the camps for the internally displaced people (IDPs), is now able to grow enough food for his family and sell the surplus to get money for catering for other family’s necessities,” Kafeero said.
In her remarks, the UN Women Country Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms Comfort Lamptey, lauded the Borno government for leading and guiding them to ensure that the impact of the project was maximized for the benefit of communities in all the targeted LGAs.
“Permit me to take this opportunity to also thank our funding partner the European Union for their solid support to recovery and resilience of conflict affected population in Borno State, and strong leadership and commitment to women empowerment within this framework.
“Since 2018 when UN Women established a sub-office in Borno State, we have been working with all key stakeholders to design and implement interventions that focuses on protection and empowerment of women and girls and building their resilience through livelihood opportunities, capacity building in leadership and participation in decision making structures.
“As part of a broader package of UN initiatives to support the Borno state Government in its efforts to implement recovery programmes to build resilience of conflict-affected populations, the EUTF project has by all accounts succeed in doing so.
“This is evident from testimonies of beneficiaries, and from highlights shared by both FAO and WFP. Working closely with FAO, WFP and our implementing partners, UN Women has for example through the EUTF project worked to ensure that over 1,000 women smallholder farmers have gained knowledge in cooperative management, entrepreneurship, and financial management and are expanding their agric-based businesses,” Lamptey said.
She explained that the women were now established into 40 women only cooperative groups and have been supported to gain financial inclusion through linkage to financial institutions.