Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi
The Government of Canada is to spend about N6 billion to improve the agriculture and health sector of Bauchi state just as it expressed its preparedness to partner the State Government to improve the lives of over 10,000 persons in the state.
Speaking during the launch of the Livelihood and Nutrition Empowerment (LINE) and the Bauchi Opportunities for Responsive Maternal Neonatal and Child Health (BORN) Projects in Bauchi recently, Head of Development Cooperation, Global Affairs Canada (GAC), Ms. Linda Enrichs said the five year LINE and BORN projects are being implemented in the state by development partners namely Oxfam and Plan International Nigeria respectively with funding from the Canadian Commission.
Enrichs, who represented the Canadian High Commissioner at the launch of the two projects, said the Canadian Commission is supporting the State with the funds to complement its efforts to address poverty by empowering farmers in the state under the LINE project.
She explained that an expected targeted of 10,000 farming households would benefit through a combination of crop, livestock and nutritional interventions, adding that over 80,000 people in the state would benefit from the process through holistic approach of the LINE project.
She said the BORN Project on the other hand is targeted at reducing child killer diseases as well as infants and maternal mortality rates through strengthening health and education institutions in the state.
She expressed joy that the relationship between the Canadian Commission and the Bauchi State government, which was stalled for five years due to insurgency in the north-east, has been renewed through the launch of LINE and BORN.
Enrichs noted that the two projects are in line with the goals of the Bauchi State government to prioritise health and agriculture, areas she said the Canadian commission also has focus.
Also speaking during the launching, Oxfam Associate Country Director, Ms Evelyn Mere, disclosed that the LINE Project plans to improve the livelihoods of 10, 000 farming households through combination of crop, livestock and nutrition interventions, reaching 80, 000 people in the process.
Mere, who emphasised that the project would tackle poverty and malnutrition, creating wealth and employment opportunities towards ensuring sustainable economic growth and prosperity, said the goals of the foundation was in line with commitment of the Canadian Government toward deepening democracy, promoting rural economic growth for poverty reduction thereby enabling men and women to contribute and benefit from the project.
She recalled that the partnership process started two years when Oxfam approached Global Affairs Canada for partnership on agriculture transformation, noting that the partnership with the state government, which is a five-year project, would enhance the Four Point Agenda of the state in agriculture, Education, Tourism and Health.
Pointing out that the project would assist the private sector especially farmers and pastoralists to have effective market access that truly increases incomes and profits, she said the reality in the country requires private sector companies on which communities produce and consume, and contribute to creating markets that are equitable and work for all to remain sustainably profitable.
She urged all actors to play their roles according to the framework to enable the people of the state, especially those at the grassroots, to benefit from the project.
In his own address, the Country Director, Plan International Nigeria, Dr. Hussaini Abdu, said no fewer than two million people especially women and adolescent girls in Bauchi State are being targeted under the BORN project.
Abdul said the alarming maternal and infant mortality rates in Bauchi State is driven by poverty, and expressed that focus of the project under BORN is to contribute to the state government’s efforts to reduce poverty, diseases, maternal and infants mortality rates and strengthen health institutions
Bauchi state Governor, Mohammed Abubakar while declaring the launching of the occasion, said the state government have reactivated its fertiliser company to produce enough fertiliser for its farmers.
Abubakar, represented by the Chief of Staff, Government House, Alhaji Abdul Sule Katagum, said the state government had also provided land and agricultural inputs to farmers to encourage dry season farming.