The Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has said the number of people in need of food assistance has reduced in the troubled North East Nigeria.
FAO, quoting the latest results of food security analysis, obtained during the October 2018 cadre harmonise analysis, said the results were “very encouraging, and in fact, in the three northeastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, the number of people in need of food assistance has fallen from 2.6 to 1.7 million people over the past year.”
The UN agency said: “The decrease of around 850,000 people in need of food assistance reflects robust efforts made by the States and the Federal Government of Nigeria and humanitarian actors, including the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and World Food Programme to reach vulnerable people.”
It noted that other factors leading to an improvement in the food security situation include favourable farming conditions, improved security in some areas and better access to markets.
Delivering the speech of the FAO country representative, Suffyan Koroma at the Flag-off Ceremony of 2018 FAO Dry season input support programme on Saturday in Maiduguri, Nourou Tall, Deputy FAO, Head of North East sub-office, lamented that conflict and displacement are preventing large numbers of people from farming or engaging in other livelihood activities.
He said: “Without sustained humanitarian support, this number is predicted to rise to 2.7 million people within the next six months.”
Tall while explaining that the overall objective of FAO programme is to contribute to the improvement of the food security and nutrition of people affected by the conflict in the north-eastern States of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, said: “For the second consecutive year, FAO is supporting over 1.5 million people, IDPs, returnees and host communities, in the three States of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe under emergency in the areas of crops, livestock, aquaculture, agri-business, climate change adaptation, access to savings and loans, safe access to fuel and energy, and access to extension services.”
He said: “The continuum between rainy and dry season farming is a unique opportunity to enhance the resilience of the farmers. After 790,000 people reached during the 2018 rainy season, FAO plans now to assist 564 000 people (80 600 Households) in the States of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, with vegetable, maize and rice seeds and fertilizers. 50% of the beneficiaries (281 000 persons /40 100 households) are located in Borno State. Overall, 28 LGAs will be reached including 15 LGAs for Borno State, 8 for Yobe and 5 for Adamawa.”
He added that: “However, Security, access to farm land and irrigation facilities remains pre-requisites for a sustained improvement and return to self-reliance,” while calling for government leadership and support.
He said FAO will ensure that there is a strong link between humanitarian assistance and medium to longer-term livelihoods support through strong government systems, the private sector and civil society, and better engagement with the communities.
Tall stressed that “FAO will continue to abide by humanitarian principles including better gender and protection mainstreaming. In coordination with government entities and other partners, FAO will continue to deliver livelihood support to lift affected populations out of poverty, vulnerability, malnutrition and food insecurity.”
He acknowledged the support of resource partners that have made the financial support to the programme. He said the “funding comes from the Belgium, ECHO, the European Union Trust Fund, France, Germany, Ireland, Norway, OFDA, Food for Peace, SIDA and Switzerland.”