• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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Food crisis: SAPRUL targets 7,000 farmers in C’River, Ebonyi

Nigeria’s food crisis and the looming human catastrophe

Richard Ajah, chief executive officer, El-kanis and Partners says the Sustainable Agriculture Programme for Rural Livelihood (SAPRUL) is targeting over 7,000 farmers in Cross River and Ebonyi States.

Ajah, who stated this in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, lamented that the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict has negatively impacted many African countries, including Nigeria.

As a result, he said prices of rice and maize have gone up in the last six months, and to this end, SAPRUL is to upscale the average yield of maize in Cross River and Ebonyi from 1.8mt/ha to 3.6mt/ha and rice from 2mt/ha to 3mt/ha.

According to Ajah, El-kanis and Partners will provide support to 4,000 maize farmers and 3,000 rice farmers for increased productivity and product supply. He added that Nigeria was also experiencing a decline in the already low output of its two major staple foods – rice and maize due to COVID 19.

Ajah, who spoke during a stakeholders’ meeting with farmers from Cross River, Akwa Ibom, and Ebonyi, said already, 1,100 farmers have been trained in Cross River and Ebonyi. He said over 1.419 metric tonnes of maize have been planted in Cross River and Ebonyi State, while 4.540 metric tonnes of rice would be planted in the next two months

He also said 870 farmers have been trained out of which 520 are youths, including 439 farmers trained for maize farming.

Read also: Nigeria, others at high risk of food crisis, warns BCG

He said the essence of the programme was to produce enough food for the south-south and south-east regions.

“We also increase income for farmers, deploy drones to support farmers, supply chain support, market expansion, supply over 15,000 rice paddy, 18,000 metric tonnes of maize, improved inputs and technical assistance to farmers in Cross River and Ebonyi State”.

“We recognise the fact that agriculture and the food sector must be at the heart of every government strategy, this sector is crucial for employment and economic growth,” he said.

Nyaudo Ndaeyo, the vice-chancellor of the University of Uyo, also speaking at the event, said his institution was partnering with El-kanis to develop and improve agricultural productivity of smallholder women farmers and youths.

‘”We are encouraged as a university to see many women young and old across the beneficiary states, organising themselves and networking to empower one another to share experience, best practices and success stories”

He said El-kanis must be seen as a key partner in Nigeria’s agricultural transformation agenda (ATA).

The vice-chancellor, who was represented by the dean, faculty of agriculture, University of Uyo, Godwin Udom commended El-kanis and Partners and others for empowering over 7000 farmers in the two states.