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Benue farmers embrace home gardening to produce food

Igbu Nelson, a young resident of Makurdi community in Benue State, represents a growing number of youths in the ‘Food Basket’ state who have adopted…

Igbu Nelson, a young resident of Makurdi community in Benue State, represents a growing number of youths in the ‘Food Basket’ state who have adopted home gardening as a sustainable way to cultivate and easily access produce for nutritious meals.

The young farmer exudes confidence in utilising the limited space within his home’s surroundings to enhance his income and promote better health within his household.

Nelson shared his enthusiasm for home gardening with our correspondent in Makurdi, saying, “We’re planting and reaping the rewards with healthier eating. I received training for this, and it’s making a difference in my life.”

Similarly, Mrs Caroline Felix, from Gwer East Local Government Area of the state, who now teaches rural farmers—mostly women—the need to cultivate home gardens, disclosed that she drew inspiration from the nutritional benefits of vitamin A-rich crops.

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“My motivation to become a home gardener started when I heard about vitamin A crops and how good they are for the body. I delved into the idea in 2012. It’s helpful to health and income,” she remarked.

Felix, along with 1,760 other rural farmers who recently received input from the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) Nigeria for the establishment of home gardens in four targeted local government areas of Benue State, are excited about their new-found vocation.

She told our correspondent in Makurdi, while emphasising the significance of GAIN’s contribution to the rural farmers, that in the wake of unwholesome food sold in the markets, there was a need for individuals to grow what they eat.

“We should embrace what GAIN has brought to Benue. It’s beneficial for our health and income. I even travel to teach others how to cultivate home gardens and gain valuable knowledge.

“I’m a processor, farmer, and businesswoman. I cultivate various vitamin A-rich crops like potatoes, maize and rice, all of which are thriving. Thanks to the GAIN programme, I’m now in my third year of the project. Though I started on my own in 2012, I have gained knowledge with this programme,” Felix added.

A nutritionist, Grace Obande, in corroborating the beneficiaries, noted that the homegrown garden is a very healthy thing to do.

She said, “It’s a cheaper way to eat healthy foods cultivated at the back of one’s house.”

Godwin Ehiabhi, Senior Programme Manager for Supply Chain Commercialization at GAIN, said at the launch of the home garden activity in Makurdi that the project aimed to enhance household access to nutritious foods.


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