Help for Nigerian small-scale farmers to improve food security and combat poverty in the face of COVID-19

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Help for Nigerian small-scale farmers to improve food security and combat poverty in the face of COVID-19

©IFAD/ Bernard Kalu

Rome/Abuja, 28 January 2021 – The Federal Government of Nigeria and the International Fund for Agricultural Development of the United Nations (IFAD) are working together to lessen the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on small-scale farmers’ activities and domestic food supply in northeastern states of Nigeria.

IFAD has provided a first grant of US$900,000 through its Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (RPSF) to support the worst affected small-scale producers and rural households in the North through the COVID-19 crisis, as well as to rebuild and recover in the post-crisis period. The grant agreement, signed by Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, Minister of Finance, budget and National Planning and Nadine Gbossa, IFAD’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa, will help vulnerable small-scale farmers in seven northern states (Borno, Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe, and Zamfara).

Under the leadership of the   Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, more than 8,000 vulnerable smallholders in Northern Nigeria will receive an agricultural stimulus and resilience package composed of climate resilient seeds; these are high yielding, and high nutritional value varieties that will help farmers achieve good production and secure their incomes. IFAD’s support complements the United Nations Nigeria COVID-19 Basket by earmarking resources to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on smallholders’ farming activities and domestic food supply.

”We both recognize and appreciate IFAD’s support to our quest to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s economy, particularly on the agricultural sector,” said Mohammed S. Nanono, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Nigeria. “This support strengthens my Ministry’s COVID-19 Agricultural Mitigation and Sustainability Plan, which aims to address the impact of the pandemic on Nigerian agriculture and food security.”

The government will procure 80 metric tons of seed – maize, rice and vegetables – and 722 metric tons of fertilizer that will support the most affected small-scale farmers. About 50 per cent are women, 25 per cent men and 25 percent young farmers who are already participating in the ongoing IFAD-funded Climate Adaptation and Agribusiness Support Programme.

“I am very happy to be among the beneficiaries who will collect rice seed and fertilizer. This will enable me to cultivate the half hectare of rice I have under irrigation for this year’s dry season. I will be able to increase my income and food security despite the COVID -19 pandemic,” said Ige Abdullahi Yarkofoji, a farmer from the Rini Community, Bakura area in Zamfara State.

There will also be training for communities on improved food production practices, including effective application of fertilizer and agro-chemicals, farm management and climate-smart agriculture. These activities are intended to safeguard smallholders’ pre-COVID gains in food security, better market access and increased income. Activities would also sensitize small-scale producers to COVID-19 security measures they should follow to stay safe during their farming activities.

“This funding from IFAD’s Rural Poor Stimulus Facility will ensure that farmers have timely access to inputs, information, and markets. By supporting smallholders to mitigate this crisis through a market-led approach, basic farming activities will be sustained, facilitating post-COVID-19 crisis recovery and resilience,” said Nadine Gbossa, IFAD's Regional Director for West and Central Africa. “IFAD is committed to leave no one behind and will ensure that women and youth in Nigeria have an equal opportunity to benefit from this funding.”

Since 1985, IFAD has financed 11 projects in Nigeria for a total of $ 1,136.8 million, including $ 510.5 million from IFAD’s own resources, directly benefitting nearly 3.9 million Nigerian rural households.

Note to Editors:

On 21 April 2020, IFAD launched a multi-donor COVID-19 Rural Poor Stimulus Facility to provide a more scaled-up response to complement our repurposed activities. The Facility will safeguard the food security and resilience of poor rural people by ensuring timely access to inputs, information, markets and liquidity. It will be targeted first and foremost at IFAD’s project beneficiaries, to ensure that the positive impacts they have achieved are not reversed. If funding permits, the Facility may also be scaled out to reach additional rural people in need. IFAD has initiated the Facility with US$40 million of seed funding from its own resources. To enable us to reach the scale needed, we aim to mobilize at least US$200 million from Member States and other donors.

Press release No.: IFAD/04/2021

IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided US$23.2 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached an estimated 518 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a United Nations specialized agency based in Rome – the United Nations food and agriculture hub.