By Rabiu Sani
Maiduguri, – The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said it targeted 8,100 families displaced by the Boko Harm insurgency under its Micro-Gardening scheme in the North-East.
Mr Patrick David, FAO’s Acting Representative in Nigeria, made this known during a review visit of the programme in the region on Thursday.
David said the scheme was designed to enhance safety and protection of farmers as well as promote their dietary intake for good health.
He said that improved variety seeds and hand tools would be provided to deserving families in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe for the 2018 irrigation activities.
The FAO country representative explained that 5,700 households would benefit from the scheme in Borno; 1,100 in Adamawa and 1,300 in Yobe.
He said that the scheme provided seeds and working tools to 7,500 households during the 2017 irrigation season in the region.
David said the items provided okra, sorrel, amarantus, cabbage, carrots, rosella, onions, tomato, lettuce and pepper seeds.
Other items were shovels, garden fork, wheelbarrow, rakes, hoes, head pan, watering cans, and garden knives.
David added that the organisation did not provide fertilisers to the farmers in order to encourage the application of local organic substances because of its attendant health benefits to the people.
He added: “FAO supported thousands of families for micro-gardening for many reasons; these include issues of protection; travelling to the field to plant entails immense risk especially for women and girls who are prone to attack.
“In emergencies, food assistance can be limited to high calorie staple crops which lack micro nutrients needed for children.
“We are encouraging the production of crops packed with iron, vitamins A, B, C, D, E and variety of essential components.”
According to him, the programme is being implemented with support from France, Kuwait, Sweden, USA, Canada and Norway.
Also, Emon Matai, FAO’s Micro-Gardening expert, said the farmers were encouraged to form cluster to facilitate successful implementation of the programme.
Matai noted that the farmers were also trained on application of organic substances, water management and preservation techniques.