James Emejo in Abuja
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in partnership with the Kaduna State government, through the United Nations Joint Project Food Africa Project has enhanced capacity of 280 vegetable farmers as well as distributed 3,976 various farming implements and agro inputs to enhance
productivity and livelihood of beneficiaries in the state.
Smallholder farmers mostly suffer the hazard of post-harvest losses, due largely to the lack of capacity to add value to their produce and modern farming equipment to ease the process.
The situation has continued to limit intervention efforts to alleviate rural poverty through improved economic activities targeted at the vast population of farmers in the country.
However, FAO Country Representative in Nigeria, Mr. Suffyan Koroma, said in order to foster a culture of exploiting the value chain in vegetable production, farmers especially women and youth should have the right capacities to take full advantage of the available opportunities for enhanced incomes.
He explained that the trainings were in line with the cardinal intent of the partnership to promote employment, improve livelihoods, and empower young women and men.
He said: “The overall objective is to create opportunities for decent jobs and secure livelihoods with approaches for alleviating child hunger and undernutrition through better government policies, fair and accountable public institutions and inclusive and sustainable business practices.”
Koroma, noted that the country’s agriculture sector has great potential for growth and productivity expansion, adding however, that several factors including information gaps, climate change effects, land ownership/tenure system, poor access to credit and of course, value chain gaps, militate against its growth.
He added that the Food Africa Project aims at improving farmers capacities in improving productivity and reducing post-harvest losses.
Meanwhile, one of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Mary Joseph said the training and implements as well as other inputs received from FAO will go a long way not only to improve her production but also help in reducing postharvest losses which she had been facing in her farming business.