Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN) has donated 20 tons of critical agricultural inputs to 2,400 rice farmers and processors in Kano State to mitigate the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on their 2020 rice production and processing businesses.
The donation, which was made possible by funding and support from the United States African Development Foundation (USADF) , with technical programme support from Diamond Development Initiatives (DDI), was made to the farmers and processors as part of efforts to build their resilience in the face of the raging COVID-19 pandemic and boost their economic reliance.
While about 400 male farmers received seeds, fertiliser and herbicides to complete their dry and wet season production, 2,000 female rice processors received paddy as inputs for their parboiling businesses.
Speaking during the flag-off of the distribution of the palliatives to the farmers and processors in Kano, the Founder and Executive Director (ED) of WOFAN, Hajia Salamatu Garba explained that the outbreak of the novel Coronavairus has adversely affected all farmers and processors across the country.
She explained that the COVID-19 outbreak led to increases in the prices of inputs, noting that in some cases, inputs like NPK 15.15.15 became very scarce as a result of restrictions on movement of goods and services.
“The scarcity and high costs of inputs became a major threat to the successful completion of the 2020 dry season and the commencement of the 2020 wet season rice production. This threat also extends to processors as access to paddy thinned out due to restrictions occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic. Ultimately, the challenges caused by the virus constitute threats to the livelihoods of members of WOFAN rice production and processing network and the country’s food security”, she said.
The ED noted that with such challenges, rice farmers and processors are at the risk of losing their investments in the dry season with the added risk of not being able to participate fully in the ongoing rainy season.
“It therefore became imperative to come up with a rescue plan to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on the farmers and processors so that they can complete dry season production and processing and also participate profitably in the ongoing wet season”, she explained.
Inputs donated to the farmers and processors include one ton of certified rice seeds, four tons of NPK Fertiliser, Two tons of Urea and 200 litres of pesticides. Women processors also received 10 tons of paddy as inputs to boost their 2020 parboiling business. The inputs were handed over to representatives of the farmers groups from Kano State by WOFAN ED and dignitaries at the ground breaking event held in Kano.
Speaking after receiving inputs on behalf of farmers in Tofa LGA, the Branch Chairman of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Alhaji Abubakar Muhammad Doka expressed gratitude to the USADF, DDI and WOFAN coalition for the life-saving intervention.
He said, “As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, many of us had lost hope that we would complete the dry season production successfully. But this donation will enable us complete dry season production and commence wet season farming. And, because we have received training on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), we will get the best out of these inputs and this will greatly improve our livelihoods and standard of living.”
On her part, Hajia Lubabatu Tofa explained that the inputs will go a long way in not just stabilizing the women’s businesses in the face of the pandemic, it will further grow their businesses in spite of the current challenges, smoothen relationship between spouses as well as improve the well-being of their children. She thanked USADF, DDI and WOFAN for coming to the women’s rescue.
WOMEN FARMERS ADVANCEMENT NETWORK.