As part of efforts to improve access to nutritious food and revive livelihood of Cameroonian Refugees and their host communities in Nigeria, 1000 Households in seven affected local government areas (LGAs) in Cross River state have collected micro-gardening kits, safe kits, farm tools, and equipment.
The intervention carried out under the joint project “Agriculture and livelihood support to Cameroonian refugees and host communities in Cross River, Benue, and Taraba States”.
Implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as part of the ‘Delivery as One’ (DaO) concept adopted by the United Nations system in Nigeria, is facilitated by governments of the catchment states.
The intervention targets seven Local governments in Cross River are Ogoja, Ikom, Obanliku, Boki, Etung, Akamkpa and Calabar.
While in Benue state, Ikyogen settlement is targeted, where the state government, from Anyeke resettled the refugees.
With the recent influx of over 8000 more refugees, it brings the total to more than 60,000 Cameroonians accommodated in the three states, according to UNHCR.
The FAO Country Representative in Nigeria, Suffyan Koroma said the items were carefully selected to assuage the livelihood challenges of the refugees, especially “the most vulnerable – women.
“The micro gardens would support the food and nutrition needs of the households and increase the resilience of the affected population to threats and crisis”, Koroma said.
To ease the process, the target beneficiaries were trained on Backyard gardening, Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture and Food Systems, agriculture value chain and market access and mainstreaming gender and protection in agriculture & livelihood at Ogoja level.
The UN Agencies did this in collaboration with the State’s Emergency Management Agencies (SEMA), Local Government Agricultural Development Officers (ADP) in each of the targeted LGAs, with the support of the community leaders.
Another key activity was the creation of awareness to 1000 beneficiaries by ADP officers on agricultural practices Climate Smart Agriculture, Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture, Sustainable Management of Land Resources, Building Resilience and Livelihood, Value Chain and Market Access, Safe Access to Fuel and Energy.
After sensitization engagements with the communities, through the various leaders, distribution of the items started at Okende in Ogoja local government (LG) followed by Obanliku, Etung, and Boki among others.
A beneficiary refugee in Obanliku LG Ranch settlement, Akpo Cyprian, originally from Ngale community in southern Cameroon said he had looked forward to the support, like most refugees.
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“The energy-saving stoves would save my wives the trouble of having to gather firewood every day from the bushes”, Cyprain said.
“The community has given us small lands where we are staying, we will do our micro-gardens at the backyards, to feed my family and sale if I have excess”, the father of 13 children added.