Empowering Smallholder Fish And Vegetable Farmers With Multiple Streams Of Income
02 March 2022
“This is important for income, dietary diversity in households and for sustainability in managing soil productivity.”
Beneficiaries of an initiative by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Yola, Adamawa state have reported to have added more sources of income and therefore improve the welfare and nutritional status of their households.
Through the Integrated Homestead Gardening and Aquaculture Livelihood Incubation Model (IHGALIM), funded by the People and Government of the Kingdom of Norway, FAO is empowering the conflict-affected households to optimize returns from the agricultural inputs they receive to integrate vegetable gardening and aquaculture
“This is important for income, dietary diversity in households and for sustainability in managing soil productivity,” says the FAO Nigeria’s Head of Office for the Northeast Programme, Al Hassan Cisse.
Explaining, Mr. Cisse said that the fish produces wastes, that release nutrients into the water, which when released as wastewater, is immediately used to irrigate vegetable gardens. “The integration promotes the sustainable use of water, and further enlightens the beneficiaries on the importance of recycling scarce resources for sustainable development,” he pointed out.
In September 2021, FAO distributed fingerlings, assorted fish feeds, vegetable seeds, hand tools, and supported the construction of earthen ponds among 300 households in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) states. The beneficiaries were also provided with skills to effectively practice the integration.
Just two months later, the beneficiaries began earning income from the sales of vegetables and four months down the line they started harvesting their fish.
During the launch event of the harvesting and selling season, the Adamawa State government was represented by the Commissioner, Ministry of Livestock and Aquaculture Development, Honourable Usman Diyajo. Besides the flagging-off event for the sales, the Honourable Commissioner made the first purchase as a way of supporting the farmers.
Hon. Diyajo commended the initiative and its positive impact on the people, especially at the grassroots level.
Some of the beneficiaries have a lot to testify about as to how the initiative has impacted on their livelihoods. Lydia Obed said: “Since we received this support, I have been gainfully employed and I have extra income because I do not buy vegetables again.”
On his side, Abdulahhi Karim is delighted to have made about NGN 50 000 from the sales of vegetables alone. Alongside the economic benefits, the intervention has also enabled the households to enhance their dietary diversity and increased soil fertility through organic inputs.
Under the initiative, the first batch of 300 households across BAY states is getting a yield of nearly 13 000kg of fish worth about USD 40 000 at a unit cost of USD 3.138/kg and about 114 metric tonnes of vegetables generating nearly USD 42 000. The integration also enables the beneficiaries to save the earnings they would have used to purchase vegetables for their food or fertilizer for the gardens, increasing their profit margins significantly.
With the income from fish and vegetable harvests, the beneficiaries independently restock new batches of fish and re-cultivate their vegetable farms without input support from FAO. This testifies to the self-sustainability of the initiative, the financial empowerment of farmers and improved nutrition through dietary diversity.
To build on the success, FAO is up-scaling to reach an additional 1 000 households across the BAY states in 2022.
UN entities involved in this initiative
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations