Written by Emmanuel Ogbeche

USAID boosts quality life for 52,000 rural households in Nigeria

The U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, has disclosed that its Feed the Future Nigeria Livelihoods project helped pull some 52, 000 households of the most vulnerable families in Nigeria out of poverty.

The agency explained that this was achieved by taking an integrated approach to improving agricultural production, income generation, nutrition, and sanitation.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the project, USAID Mission Director, Stephen M. Haykin, said “this project took a holistic approach to agriculture, to livelihoods, and to social development. It addressed the needs of the extreme poor by improving incomes and reducing vulnerabilities, and in this way, serves as a model for efforts to build resilience in rural Nigeria.”

He noted that after the introduction of new technology to improve agricultural production and access to input markets such as quality seeds for smallholder farmers, crop yields doubled for more than 33,000 farmers with further gains realized through reduction of post-harvest losses.

Other benefits of the scheme include more than 2,000 community workers were trained to deliver over 1.5 million counseling and group sessions on nutrition that led to a 22 percent drop in stunting, 10 percent drop in wasting, and 53 percent increase in exclusive breastfeeding rates in targeted locations

Speaking at the event, Governor Aminu Tambuwal noted that “almost all of the programs implemented under this intervention aligned with our policies and programs toward improving the lives of the vulnerable groups in Sokoto State.

“An extension of some models of approaches of the project, which we found adaptable, our ministries, departments, and agencies have collaborated with the project to replicate them.”

The program was initiated in 2013 with a $22.6 million activity implemented by the Catholic Relief Services began in the Federal Capital Territory, Kebbi and Sokoto states to help grow their agricultural production, diversify incomes, and improve nutrition.

It also provided livelihoods planning skills, adult literacy and numeracy instruction, and cash transfers for the most vulnerable households. 

In 2017, activities expanded to Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states, reaching 10,000 more households. 

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