The West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) in collaboration with Oxfam Nigeria has organised an awareness campaign for farmers to overcome the challenges posed by the Coronavirus pandemic as well as strengthen health security for Small -scale farming communities in Bauchi State.
The campaign facilitated by the Bauchi State chapter of the Association of Small – scale Agro Producers in Nigeria (ASSAPIN) was aimed at enhancing awareness on COVID -19 and its preventive mechanism in local farming communities as well as assess the knowledge gaps existing among farmers on issues of COVID-19 in the state.
In a welcome address during the Town Hall Meeting held in Bauchi, the State President of ASSAPIN, Hajiya Amina Bala Jibrin said that the meeting was meant to provide an avenue for farmer Associations to identify and discuss the impact of COVID -19 on farming activities in the state.
“This town hall meeting will enable us to review progress, gaps and achievements associated with climate vulnerability and market access as well as efforts made by the state government to improve the conditions of farmers in the state during this COVID-19 scourge.
“We are also discussing the Coronavirus pandemic awareness and preventive measures in our farming localities, policy gap and progress made by the government and farmers in the state,” she said.
The State President of the association enjoined participants to be fully engaged in the discussion “as we are facilitating an exchange of ideas among various stakeholders on ongoing preventive measures in communities, specifically to bridge the information gap between farmers and the government”.
Also speaking, the Oxfam Governance and Influencing Officer, Mr. Aor Ikyaabo said that in this period of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments at all levels must build a better and more sustainable food system that will ensure farmers, and particularly small – scale farmers have access to farming inputs.
He lamented that farmers are finding it difficult to get information on simple inputs like fertilizer, stressing that the lockdown is also negatively affecting farming activities as well as preventing farmers from accessing their farms and even marketing their produce.
“We at Oxfam are helping in the areas of community sensitisation, hygiene promotion, and community engagement to help mitigate the spread of the virus.
“We work in six local government areas in Bauchi state and we go around making sure our farmers in the communities get necessary basic information on hygiene and necessary agricultural inputs. We also provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to our farmers in Oxfam project areas,” he said.