The Climate Adaptation and Agribusiness Support Programme (CASP), a programme of International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), is targeting 1,547,000 farmers in seven northern states to revive their livelihoods.
This was made known by Dr Sunday Edigbo, Director, Agricultural Land Resources and Climate Change, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development during the 10th National Agricultural Show in Abuja
The program is targeting 1,547,000 direct farmers and 4,362,000 indirect farmers to equip farmers, young men and women in the seven states that were benefiting from the programme. The programme, which was operating in 104 local government areas and 727 villages in Borno, Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara states, is aimed at facilitating market and economic development.
“The IFAD-CASP is tackling climate change effects in Nigeria; you can see floods, desertification and farmers-herdsmen conflicts; herdsmen in search of pasture, as there is no pasture in the North, they are moving to the South and in the process, they are clashing with farmers.
“We want to teach farmers how to do the business of farming and provide support for them in terms of high-yield crops and implements; we want to educate them on how to go into farming as early as possible.
“We are providing them infrastructure that will allow them to engage in double or triple farming, pest control, crop processing and marketing, while adding value to their produce so that they can be in the business.
“We have also provided 9,159 jobs for the youth in those areas, these include financial service associations (5,000 managers, cashiers and security officials), 3,535 enterprises and 624 pilot enterprises,’’ he said.
“We assist the farmers to produce high-quality crops and link them with off-takers. There are lots of off -takers and we sell ourselves everywhere we go.
“We are partnering with Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) and some other organisations to solve the challenges facing the beneficiaries and increase their income.
“NiMet is helping us to provide weather information to our farmers and we utilise the information, and this has really helped our farmers in many ways.
“We are grateful to NiMET; this year, the agency has gone down to the villages, so that our farmers are aware of the onset of the rains to enable them to plan their cropping calendar,’’ he said.
Mr Muhammed Idah, the National Programme Coordinator of IFAD-CASP, who was represented by Mr Modu Shugaba, Agricultural Development Coordinator of IFAD-CASP, said that the programme had provided farmers with advice, while mitigating climate change effects on farming.
“We are bringing to the notice of farmers the effects of climate change. Climate change is real; people need to take cognizance of climate change in whatever they are doing, particularly in agricultural activities.
“We are partnering with many organisations and research institutes, especially NIMET, to predict rainfall.
“Our farmers now know when the rain will start and when it is going to end, so they are able to plan with this knowledge and achieve their crop calendar,’’ he added.
Idah said that the schemes of IFAD-CASP for farmers included climate change mitigation programmes and desertification control measures.
Others are encouraging the establishment of woodlots, shelterbelts, agro-forestry, community nursery, participatory land use planning (PLUP), reducing land degradation and promoting tree crops for increased income.
Idah said that they also included the agency’s collaboration with NiMET to downscale seasonal rainfall prediction (SRP) to all the participating local councils and villages, in concert with International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), to boost agricultural production.
He said that IFAD-CASP had also developed rangelands to reduce farmers-pastoralists conflict, boost linkages to existing market information platforms as well as conduct farmers’ profiling, using ICT and GPS to capture biodata, farm size, location, value chain crop and BVN registration.
He said that IFAD-CASP also encouraged youths and women to participate in crop growing and agricultural enterprises to enable them go into value chain that would generate more income and employment.
“We are promoting seven value chains of cowpea, groundnut, millet, maize, sorghum, wheat and rice; each of the seven states has three value chains to support.
“We are working seriously to reduce poverty, increase food security and accelerate economic growth on a sustainable basis,’’ he said.
NAN reports that the development objectives of IFAD- CASP include increased incomes, enhanced food security and reduced vulnerability for smallholder farmers, particularly women and youths, in the participating states.