The European Union (EU), Oxfam in Nigeria, the Development Exchange Center (DEC) and the Taraba State Government are collaborating on a new initiative aimed at increasing the productivity and income of farmers in the state.
According to a statement on the Oxfam website, the project which was launched in Jalingo recently, would target about 300,000 people in 30,000 farming households in Donga, Wukari, Ardo Kola, Kurmi, Takum and Zing Local Government Areas of the state, “It is funded by the EU and jointly implemented by Oxfam in Nigeria and DEC.”
The statement noted that the project which is known as Produce and Sell (PROSELL), seeks to improve the resilience of small-scale farmers, fishermen and livestock owners in the face of shocks from climate change, such as changing rainfall patterns, drought and desertification.
Furthermore, it stated that its implementation follows the success of Pro-Resilience Action (PROACT), a similar EU-funded project that is currently reaching 35,000 farming households in Kebbi and Adamawa States.
“PROACT has helped to increase farmers’ access to timely agricultural inputs such as seeds and fertilisers; finance for farmer groups; knowledge on practices to improved their yield through farmer field training schools, and community-owned grain reserves to provide food in the lean season, tree planting for fight climate change and village savings and loans association to grow flexible financial services for the rural poor.
The net result of PROACT is at least 100 per cent agricultural yield increase across Adamawa and Kebbi States and this is what is being replicated in Taraba state,” the statement said.
The Head of the Health, Nutrition and Resilience Section at the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms. Montserrat Pantaleoni, who represented the Head of Delegation, Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, at the launch, underscored the importance of the EU’s focus on women and youth not only in the state, but in the country.
Pantaleoni in the statement added: “This project will target 50 percent women and 30 percent youth, and this is important. It is predicted that Nigeria will be the fourth most populous country in the world by 2050, it is essential that population growth is accompanied by sustainable economic development. It is crucial that women and young people, who make up most of the country, are able to contribute meaningfully to the economy.”
She expressed the hope that project would strengthen the state capacity to provide more jobs and more food for its people.
Also speaking at the event, the Acting Country Director of Oxfam in Nigeria, Mr. Constant Tchona, said PROSELL would fulfil a strong need for agricultural and socioeconomic development in the state.