For most people in northeast Nigeria, agriculture is the predominant source of livelihood and income. However, the persistent conflicts have disrupted farming activities drastically, with farmlands becoming insecure and inaccessible as communities are forced to abandon their ancestral homes. Besides insecurity, communities are also experiencing the pronounced impact of climate change, which has significantly affected agricultural and fishing activities, leading to a shortage of food supplies; exacerbating hunger and loss of livelihoods.
In Borno State, Ngala, a border town created in 1976 and situated between northeast Nigeria and Fotokol town of Cameroon, is among communities in northeast Nigeria targeted by interventions through the Regional Stabilization Facility (RSF) phase two for the Lake Chad Basin region, having been cleared of insurgents. With resettlement still ongoing, agriculture and other socio-economic activities are also restarting. Despite the challenges, Ngala has enormous agricultural and livestock development potential; In addition to farming, the access to River Ngadda which flows into Lake Chad, some community members have taken up fishing to supplement their primary source of livelihood.
Like other parts of Nigeria, one critical challenge farmers face is reduced productivity due to unpredictable weather patterns. Fear of possible attacks recurring also limits the extent to which farmers can utilize their farmlands to cultivate food crops. Another issue impacting farming in the area is inadequate access or lack of fertilizers or climate-resilient seedlings that could boost food production. These challenges are pushing the community members further into poverty and increasing hunger in the area.
In partnership with the state government, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) supported the community to boost local food production by distributing agricultural inputs to the farmers across the community in preparation for the year’s planting season in anticipation of the much-awaited rains. This effort is in line with UNDP’s vision of revitalizing the socio-economic activities of the conflict-affected communities in northeast Nigeria to ensure they are future resilient and sustainable.
The 2022 farm implements distribution support targets 3000 farmers in Ngala and 1000 in Banki, another community in Borno State. The materials provided, including farming equipment, fertilizers, and improved seeds such as maize, cowpea, millet, sorghum, groundnut, and sesame, will enhance the overall farming process and food production. Besides the implements, farmers will also receive training on how to utilize smart agriculture techniques, such as new methods of planting, harvesting, preservation and storage of harvest, to ensure that they are maximizing the productivity of their farms while also minimizing post-harvest losses.