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Innovative fish and vegetable production improves livelihoods of conflict-affected families in Borno State, Nigeria

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  Senior officials from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FAO have visited agricultural projects in Borno State northeast Nigeria which have transformed the lives of members of the conflict affected community Borno state which borders the Lake Chad region has been hit by a decade long insurgency that has reduced food security and destroyed livelihoods High food and fuel prices exacerbated by the war in Ukraine and the economic impacts of COVID 19 are also reducing food security In association with local authorities and partners FAO has established several projects aimed at improving production and nutrition and building resilience against future shocks In the Gongulong community in Jere the delegation saw FAO supported projects including integrated aquaculture and vegetable production centers for fish processing and briquetting for energy efficient stoves and a Farmer Field School where participants learn methods for better production What we have heard from the community today is that livelihood restoration projects are changing the lives of many people said Abebe Haile Gabriel FAO Assistant Director General and Regional Representative for Africa These projects show that investments in agricultural projects and programs in collaboration with partners can reduce acute food insecurity poverty and unemployment he said Innovative solutions for better production The integrated aquaculture and vegetable production project contemplates the training of aquaculturists to raise catfish in tanks Nutrient rich wastewater from the fish tanks is used to irrigate and fertilize nearby family gardens benefiting the community through access to nutritious fish onions spinach and okra and providing a new source of income I can teach others how to establish and maintain fish farming and vegetable production to earn more income said Bukar Suguli a fish and vegetable farmer adding that the business has restored livelihoods for the entire community The Farmer Field School FFS or school without walls helps improve the adoption of innovative and sustainable farming practices over the course of a farming season It has been widely adopted in Nigeria and throughout Africa as an effective method for agricultural extension services Since 2018 FAO has trained more than 100 facilitators and established more than 400 farmer field schools in five Nigerian states Participants have reported higher yields of up to 40 compared to other farmers At the FFS in Gongulong women farmers have learned how to overcome local challenges such as a parasitic weed that destroys cowpea crops They have tackled this by planting improved cowpea varieties that are resistant to weeds and have higher yields FAO has also launched the FAO Thiaroye Technology FTT fish smoking oven for the safe and efficient processing of farmed catfish The oven dramatically reduces smoke related health impacts on female processors compared to older methods and extends the shelf life of fish by 6 months Safe access to cooking fuel is another critical issue being addressed through FAO s work in Maiduguri Women and children who traditionally collect firewood are often at risk of attack when away from their homes The Safe Access to Fuel and Energy SAFE program was introduced by FAO through training to produce fuel efficient stoves and briquettes At the briquetting plant in Gongulong women are being trained to make and sell stoves and fuel providing them with a source of income Innovative stoves reduce firewood collection trips from 4 times a week to just over once a week on average and cut the amount of firewood normally needed in half Briquettes use agricultural bio waste reducing the need to cut down trees for fuel FAO s work in northeast Nigeria including Borno State is funded by Belgium Canada the European Union EU the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations ECHO Germany Ireland Japan Norway Sweden Switzerland and the United States Agency for International Development USAID FAO is also collaborating with other United Nations entities in implementing the interventions including the Central Emergency Response Fund CERF the International Fund for Agricultural Development IFAD the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR the United Nations Children s Fund UNICEF UN Women and the World Food Program The visiting delegation includes the FAO Assistant Director General and Regional Representative for Africa Abebe Haile Gabriel the Deputy Director of the FAO Office of Emergencies and Resilience Shukri Ahmed and the FAO Representative in Nigeria Fred Kafeero
Innovative fish and vegetable production improves livelihoods of conflict-affected families in Borno State, Nigeria

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Food and Agriculture Organization

Senior officials from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have visited agricultural projects in Borno State, northeast Nigeria, which have transformed the lives of members of the conflict-affected community.

nigerian news up date

Borno state, which borders the Lake Chad region, has been hit by a decade-long insurgency that has reduced food security and destroyed livelihoods.

nigerian news up date

High food and fuel prices, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine and the economic impacts of COVID-19, are also reducing food security.

In association with local authorities and partners, FAO has established several projects aimed at improving production and nutrition, and building resilience against future shocks.

In the Gongulong community in Jere, the delegation saw FAO-supported projects including integrated aquaculture and vegetable production, centers for fish processing and briquetting for energy-efficient stoves, and a Farmer Field School where participants learn methods for better production.

“What we have heard from the community today is that livelihood restoration projects are changing the lives of many people,” said Abebe Haile-Gabriel, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa.

“These projects show that investments in agricultural projects and programs, in collaboration with partners, can reduce acute food insecurity, poverty and unemployment,” he said.

Innovative solutions for better production The integrated aquaculture and vegetable production project contemplates the training of aquaculturists to raise catfish in tanks.

Nutrient-rich wastewater from the fish tanks is used to irrigate and fertilize nearby family gardens, benefiting the community through access to nutritious fish, onions, spinach and okra, and providing a new source of income.

“I can teach others how to establish and maintain fish farming and vegetable production to earn more income,” said Bukar Suguli, a fish and vegetable farmer, adding that the business has restored livelihoods for the entire community.

The Farmer Field School (FFS), or ‘school without walls’, helps improve the adoption of innovative and sustainable farming practices over the course of a farming season.

It has been widely adopted in Nigeria and throughout Africa as an effective method for agricultural extension services.

Since 2018, FAO has trained more than 100 facilitators and established more than 400 farmer field schools in five Nigerian states.

Participants have reported higher yields of up to 40% compared to other farmers.

At the FFS in Gongulong, women farmers have learned how to overcome local challenges, such as a parasitic weed that destroys cowpea crops.

They have tackled this by planting improved cowpea varieties that are resistant to weeds and have higher yields.

FAO has also launched the FAO Thiaroye Technology (FTT) fish smoking oven for the safe and efficient processing of farmed catfish.

The oven dramatically reduces smoke-related health impacts on female processors compared to older methods, and extends the shelf life of fish by 6 months.

Safe access to cooking fuel is another critical issue being addressed through FAO’s work in Maiduguri.

Women and children who traditionally collect firewood are often at risk of attack when away from their homes.

The Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE) program was introduced by FAO through training to produce fuel-efficient stoves and briquettes.

At the briquetting plant in Gongulong, women are being trained to make and sell stoves and fuel, providing them with a source of income.

Innovative stoves reduce firewood collection trips from 4 times a week to just over once a week on average, and cut the amount of firewood normally needed in half.

Briquettes use agricultural bio-waste, reducing the need to cut down trees for fuel.

FAO’s work in northeast Nigeria, including Borno State, is funded by Belgium, Canada, the European Union (EU), the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), Germany, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

FAO is also collaborating with other United Nations entities in implementing the interventions, including the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN Women and the World Food Program.

The visiting delegation includes the FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, Abebe Haile-Gabriel, the Deputy Director of the FAO Office of Emergencies and Resilience, Shukri Ahmed, and the FAO Representative in Nigeria, Fred Kafeero.

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