EU, Oxfam and DEC partner Taraba State Government on Food Security and Rural Development
The European Union (EU), Oxfam in Nigeria, and Development Exchange Center (DEC) and the Taraba State Government are collaborating on a new initiative aimed at increasing the productivity and and income of farmers in the state. The project which was launched in Jalingo on November 30, 2018, will target about 300,000 people in 30,000 farming households in Donga, Wukari, Ardo Kola, Kurmi, Takum and Zing Local Government Areas of Taraba state. It is funded by the EU and jointly implemented by Oxfam in Nigeria and DEC.
Known as Produce and Sell (PROSELL), the project 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. It 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 fertilizers; 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% agricultural yield increase across Adamawa and Kebbi States and this is what is being replicated in Taraba State.
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, stressed the importance of the EU's focus on women and youth not only in Taraba state, but for the country as a whole.
“This project will target 50% women and 30% 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 said.
She expressed the hope "that PROSELL will strengthen Taraba’s capacity to provide more jobs and more food for its people. We believe our investments will contribute to making not only Taraba’s economy great, but the whole Nigeria’s economy”.
Also speaking at the event, the Acting Country Director of Oxfam in Nigeria, Mr. Constant Tchona, said that PROSELL will fulfill a strong need for agricultural and socioeconomic development in Taraba State.
According to him, “77% of people in Taraba State are living in poverty in a state where vast majority of the people work in agriculture, so we know that there is a need to do agriculture better in the state. Also, 43% of children in Taraba experience stunted growth due to malnutrition, which means that access to nutritious food is also a challenge. There are also issues of conflict and natural resource management. All of this is why we believe that a project like PROSELL can make much-needed and visible impact in Taraba State and, by extension, Nigeria as a whole.”
Responding, Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba state commended the EU for its 'timely intervention', which he said would immensely complement his administration's effort in food resilience. He said the PROSELL initiative was in sync with his administration’s Agriculture Rescue Agenda, geared towards increased productivity and enhancing livelihood of small-scale farmers in the state.
Oxfam Head, Influencing and Public Engagement: Abdulazeez Musa
EU Delegation Press Officer: Mr Modestus Chukwulaka
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