More than 200,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North-East have been empowered by the Food Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations under its agricultural development programme.

FAO Acting Country Representative, Nouron Macki, told newsmen in Maiduguri, on Thursday, that the programme tagged: “Restoring Agricultural Livelihood of IDPs, Returnees and Vulnerable Host Families covered Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.

Macki said 48,000 farming households among IDPs in Borno benefited from the programme during dry season while 2,160 benefited during the rainy season.

“About 174,000 had so far benefited from our dry season intervention while about 146,000 had benefited during the rainy season in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno.

“Our implementing partners for this programme include Borno State Government, National Programme for Food Security, World Food Programme, and FADAMA III.

“The programme was sponsored by FAO, Government of Ireland, Government of Belgium and Government of Japan,” he said.

According to him, 1.8 million farmers who have lost their means of livelihood are expected to benefit from the programme across the affected states.

“About 80 per cent of the population rely on farming as their main source of livelihood and some of them have not been able to farm for about three years, while some have lost all their agricultural assets to the strangulating insurgency,” he said.

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Macki said that the agency would require about $65 million to revolutionise farming in the North-East.

“Immediately, we need about $20 million for the rainy season farming to cater for 114,000 farmers who will improve food production in the states,” he said.

Contributing, Salisu Ngulde, Borno State Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), said 8,000 IDPs had benefited from the programme in the last one year.

Ngulde said 2,000 benefited in Jere; 3,400 in Konduga and 3,400 in Damboa.

“We have been supporting them with 10 assorted seeds and 25 kilogramme of fertiliser.

“They were divided into five sub-groups and each of them was given hand wash boreholes and water pumps,” he said.

He said the IDPs would produce varieties of crops such as sorrel, cabbage, onion, pepper, carrots, tomatoes, water melon, okra and Amaranthus,” he said. (NAN)