By Emmanuel Oloniruha
The Nigerian American Public Affairs Committee Foundation (NAPAC), an NGO, on Monday trained Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in FCT on sustainable organic garden farming and waste to wealth skills.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the two IDP camps of Wassa and Kuchigoro, are located in the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) of the FCT.
Mrs Zainab Mohammed, the NAPAC Board Director, Sustainable Food Security and Economic Empowerment Programme, explained that the event was part of the NGO’s annual programmes to commemorate Nigeria Independence Anniversary.
Mohammed, while addressing the beneficiaries of the training at Wassa IDP Camp, said the programme was to teach them modern day innovative farming at their backyards using organic materials.
She said it was part of the group’s mission to give back to the people as well to contribute to food security and economic empowerment in the country.
“ We are here to celebrate Nigeria Independence Day with them, not just to bring food for them to eat, but to teach them to fend for themselves.
“ There will be a waste to wealth training and when we leave this place we are going to Kuchigoro to do exactly what we are doing here.
“ We need them to start having an exit plan; once you are economically stable, you will now start thinking of how do you move on.
” We are here to train them how to do modern day farming, purely organic farming for health reasons.
“ Also to teach some of the women on waste to wealth, using the common day household items such as plastic, throwaway bottles to make school bags, purses and tyres to make earrings.’’
Mohammed said that the modern day farming was important, especially with the challenges hindering people, especially women from going to farm in different parts of the country.
The director said that the beneficiaries would be equipped on healthy methods of farming so that they could also eat healthy and sell some of the products in their local markets.
She described organic farming as one of the innovative way of farming these days, saying ” We farm in sacks; farm around our environment.
“ All the time we like to use our environment for just flowers, but right now we can actually farm to feed your community right from home.
“ We use plastic bottles to do some spices, herbs; we brought almost 200 sacks here because we are going to grow yam in sacks, potatoes in sacks, and so many things in a sack; that is the modern day farming.
“ You all know what is happening; men cannot go to the farm; women cannot go to the farm because they are being raped; they are being killed or kidnapped because of the banditry.
“ As you know they all ran from their communities to be here in Abuja. They want to be safe here,” Mohammed said.
She added that the training had nothing to do with politics and government, but individuals who believed in giving back to the society.
Also, Ijeoma Ndulue, Sustainable Organic Farming Expert, said one aspect of the training was how the beneficiaries could use organic materials around them to farm instead of using chemical base fertiliser.
Ndulue said that the organic farming was not only sustainable, but also had high yields as well help to reduce the effect of climate change.
“ We are here to teach you the organic way of farming with high output. You do not have to go out to far distance before you can farm.
“ You can use sack and other input to plant and get good yield from the crops,” she said.
Responding, Mr Joffre Bitrus, Chairman of Wassa IDP Camp, commended the NGO for donating farm seedlings and other food items.
Bitrus said that the training helped a lot of them to realise that they could farm at their backyards with sacks.
“I have been a farmer right from Borno; my father was also a farmer but I never knew I can use sacks to grow crops in my backyard.
“ A lot of us just got to know this today; we are grateful for that, “ he said.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Hadiza Mohammed from Adamawa, said that the training would not only help her to grow food to feed her family but also sell to meet their other needs.
Some of the organic items donated to the IDPs included sweet potatoes vines, vegetable seedlings, pepper seedlings, tomatoes seedlings, spinach seeds, pumpkin leaf seedlings and about 200 empty sacks for planting.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Chijioke Okoronkwo