Oxfam International, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), says it has spent N70 million to boost the productivity of smallholder farmers in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of Bauchi State.
Dr Francis Sa’ayinzat, Project Team leader of OXFAM, said this during an interactive session with about 60 beneficiaries in Kumbus, Jibam and Daso communities.
According to him, the project, which is funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC), is aimed at reducing poverty and suffering among vulnerable farmers by improving the quantity of their farm yields.
“GAC is funding a N70-million project to improve farming activities in six local government areas of the state.The project targets 10,000 vulnerable household farmers in about 48 wards; so far, we have registered 3,165 farmers and it is going to be a continuous process,” he said.
“Oxfam has distributed free farm inputs for the 2017 rainy season, of which N25,000 is estimated to be spent on each farmer. The amount includes free provision of improved seedlings, herbicides, pesticides and fertiliser,’’ Sa’ayinzat said.
Also speaking, the Deputy Director of GAC in Nigeria, Mr Constant Tchona said: “The project is to reduce poverty and improve the livelihood of vulnerable farmers in the hard-to-reach communities.
“The GAC team is in Tafawa Balewa LGA to interact with beneficiaries and inspect farmlands supported by the project.Soon, more farm inputs will be provided to increase farm output during harvests,’’ he said.
According to Tchona, the officials of GAC will conduct frequent similar visits to farmlands, so as to ensure the success of all the project implementation processes.
Mr Samuel Abas, Business Incubation and Rural Finance Advisor of Oxfam, said that the organisation would facilitate community bulk trading and small business development for cooperatives at the ward level.
He said that it would also look at setting up business incubation centres for private investors.
He added that six incubation centres would be established in all the six local government areas.
Also, Mr Nachia Jonathan, the Technical Officer of Rahman Women and Youth Development Initiative, said that series of training were conducted for the beneficiaries before the commencement of the project.
He said that beneficiaries were also registered under a cooperative society for easy accessibility and team work.
He said that each cooperative, which had about 30 members and over 70 per cent women membership, would cultivate a hectare of farmland each.
In his response, Mr Jibo Usman, Community Head of Jibam, commended Oxfam for the intervention.
He, however solicited more support for members of the various communities, saying that such projects would definitely improve their living conditions.
The Oxfam projects are expected to be executed within 60 months across six local government areas — Kaleri, Darazo, Dambam, Shira, Ningi and Tafawa Balewa council areas.