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FAO seeks $62m to support agriculture in North-East

Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has appealed to the UN to release 62 million U.S. dollars to support wet-season farming in the north-eastern part of…

Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has appealed to the UN to release 62 million U.S. dollars to support wet-season farming in the north-eastern part of the country.

Mr Nourou Tall, the Acting FAO Country Representative in Nigeria, made the appeal at a news conference in Maiduguri on Thursday.

“In 2017, FAO is asking for 62 million dollars, under the Humanitarian Response Plan, for Nigeria.

“Of this, 20 million dollars is urgently required to reach 1.9 million people during the upcoming main planting season that will start in June 2017.

“Missing this season will mean food insecurity and, therefore, humanitarian costs will continue to rise into 2018.

“FAO’s dry season campaign is ongoing, with 174,400 people receiving vegetable seeds, irrigation equipment and livestock support.

“A combination of food assistance and food production support is the only way to address the scale of hunger facing the people of north-eastern Nigeria,’’ he said.

Tall also urged other development partners to assist in raising the money so as to avert impending food crisis in the area.

He said that the money was expected to come under the Humanitarian Response Plan for Nigeria.

Tall reiterated that 20 million U.S. dollars, out the expected funds, would be used to support wet season farming in the areas, with a focus on 1.9 million people, during the upcoming planting season that would start in June.

According to him, the 20 million dollars will be used to support wet season farming in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.

He said that the remaining funds would be used to finance other humanitarian projects in the area.

According to him, about 5.1 million people may face acute food insecurity in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe unless there is quick intervention.

Tall disclosed that no fewer than 174, 400 persons had received farm inputs and irrigation equipment as well as livestock support during the organisation’s campaign on dry season farming.

The FAO country representative said that the organisation in 2016, received about 7.2 million U.S. dollars to fund agricultural activities in the north-eastern part of the country.

He listed the organisations and countries that gave the support in 2016 as Belgium, the European Commission as well as Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).

Funds were also received from FAO’s internal resources, Irish Aid, Japan, United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (UN-CERF), United Nations Women and World Food Programme (WFP).

Tall said: “Missing the main planting season will force many Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), returnees and vulnerable host communities to rely on expensive and challenging food assistance well into 2018.

“This will have a broad negative impact on rising hunger, lack of economic and employment opportunities as well as possible harmful consequences, including youth radicalisation.’’

News Agency of Nigeria reports that FAO, in a bid to support internally displaced farmers in the North East, had established farms in efforts to revive their means of livelihood.

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