By Kudirat Musa
Most farmers believe that Fadama — cultivation and farming by irrigation — has improved farming since its introduction in 1993.
Agriculturists also note that with Fadama method of farming, farmers can develop from feeding their family to getting huge source of income from farming.
The Federal Government projection for Fadama is to provide resources and means of livelihood to many Nigerians.
However, Boko Haram insurgency in the north-eastern part of the country had, hitherto, disrupted farming activities in the region by displacing residents, including farmers.
The effects of the displacement are evident in inactive agricultural activities at the grassroots, causing high cost of foodstuff, malnutrition, hunger, diseases and death, especially among women and children.
To check the trend, the World Bank emergency intervention programme for the North East — North East Food Security and Livelihood Emergency Support Project (Fadama) III and Additional Financing — came on board strongly to promote farming in all the affected states.
By most ratings, Borno, which residents are more than 70 per cent farmers, is blessed with rich natural and agricultural resources and it is known for mass production of groundnut, wheat, maize, beans, millet, fish, rice, tomato, cassava, sorghum, pepper and citrus, among other farm produce.
Also, statistics from the Borno Emergency Management Agency and camp officials indicates that more than 80 per cent of those affected by the insurgency are peasants who need Fadama farming to develop.
The agency says there are more than two million people in 21 official Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Maiduguri with more than six million others within the host communities and informal camps spread across Borno.
The objective of North East Food Security and Livelihood Emergency Support Project (Fadama) III and other agencies is to set the agricultural sector of these conflict affected states on strong footing.
The agencies, therefore, take seriously the issue of supporting peasants with their immediate food needs as well as farm and non-farm inputs support to restore their livelihood activities.
They believe the IDPs are starting life afresh, having lost everything to the insurgency and they need sustainable income generation.
Investigations show that with the initiative, presently in Borno, farming activities have picked up tremendously in 166 worst hit communities spread across 24 out of the 27 local government areas of the state.
Observers note that the programme has restored farming activities through provision of starter-packs to affected households to justify why it is an emergency programme designed to respond to the urgent food and livelihood needs of the masses.
According to them, in spite of the imminent collapse of socio-economic and political activities in the areas, Fadama farming has been able to restore hope and self confidence among the returnee beneficiaries that are picking up life afresh.
For instance, Ya-Fati Moduram and Hajja Falta-Bukar are women household heads who benefit from the project in Jere and Nganzai local government areas of Borno.
They said they had a sigh of relief as they could presently provide enough food to take care of their families and some to sell and get income.
Similarly, Malam Modu Kime and Mr Malla Bukar are returnees of Gongulong village of Jere local government areas who use their non-farm inputs support — grinding mill and sewing machines — to generate an average of N1, 200 daily to meet basic needs of their families.
Women irrigation farmers’ group leader Fatime Abakar in the area also said that on every harvest women shared between N10, 000 and N15, 000 after saving for farm inputs requirements and unforeseen circumstances.
Malam Ali Bunu, a cap weaver who lost everything to Boko Haram insurgents that invaded his village of Bale Kanuribe in Jere Local Government Area of Borno, is also empowered through the programme.
He said he got a sewing machine through Additional Financing intervention of the World Bank to restore his business of selling threads and cap making yards.
Malam Alimi Bukar, a resident of Gasarwa in Nganzai Local Government Area of Borno, said that he fled the village for six years when the Boko Haram insurgent took over the village and he had returned to earn a better living.
He explained that he returned when the village was liberated by the Nigerian Army barely one year ago and got a grinding machine he had been using to generate resources to keep his family happy.
Most residents of Maiduguri believe that the initiative has been able to reduce poverty and increase sustained food production.
Stakeholders in humanitarian services, therefore, see Fadama concept as viable in reducing the burden of poverty and hunger among the masses.
To boost the programme, the World Bank recently announced that it would disburse N8.6 billion to 5,916 youths across the country in the Graduate Unemployment Youths Support Scheme.
Mr Kwaji Daguru, the Chairman of Fadama Guys Implementation Committee, said that the programme targeted 5,916 youths in 23 states to improve the country’s agricultural production.
He said that the involvement of youths in the agricultural programme would contribute significantly to the country’s efforts to achieve food security and boost capacity building as well as employment opportunities.
He, nonetheless, said that the disbursement would be made through the Grant and Funds category of the project.(NANFeatures)