Solidaridad deploys community facilitators to increase palm oil production

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Field training of CF

AS part of its effort to contribute to the attainment of self-sufficiency in palm oil production in Nigeria, Solidaridad has trained and deployed over 60 community facilitators and 12 subject matter specialists in four states. In each of Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Enugu, and Kogi states, where Solidaridad is implementing its Kingdom of the Netherlands funded National Initiatives for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Oil Palm Smallholders, NISCOPS project, 15 community facilitators and 3 subject matter specialists are engaging communities and smallholder oil palm farmers.

They are to facilitate in areas of mobilization of communities and smallholder oil palm farmers, Sustainable Land Use, SLU, Best Management Practices, BMP, Village Savings and Loan Association, VSLA, Climate Smart Agriculture, CSA, and demonstration plots among others in the four states.

Solidaridad is working in Nigeria to ensure self-sufficiency in palm oil and other commodities through climate-smart and sustainable intensification of present holdings and improving smallholders’ productivity in the country.

Samuel Ogallah, senior climate specialist for Africa at Solidaridad/Country Technical Lead, said: “The agriculture sector in Nigeria is at a critical stage as the nation is faced with imminent food crisis in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, which has affected food production with majority of smallholder farmers at the receiving end. Our interventions in the agriculture sector in Nigeria will not only strengthen and build the capacity of farmers for increase in productivity, but will also contribute to the Covid-19 economic recovery plan of Nigeria as the country strives to build back its economy.”

Ogallah further called for the digitalization of the agriculture sector as part of the lessons learned from Covid-19 pandemic and said the sector should also be given priority in the revision of Nigeria’s Nationally Determined Contribution, NDC, to the Paris Agreement.

On his part, Kenechwukwu Onukwube, programme manager, oil palm, Solidaridad in Nigeria, said community facilitators were key to the transformation, which Solidaridad was bringing to the oil palm sector in Nigeria. “Social inclusion and Knowledge Attitudes and Practices are key to the transformation which Solidaridad is bringing to the regrowth of the oil palm sector in Nigeria.

“Community Facilitators are important drivers of this transformation because they bring expert advice on best management practices to the smallholder, facilitate the linkage of the farmers to inputs-outputs market resources, and they also ensure that smallholders adopt knowledge and practices that promote increased productivity through ecosystem-friendly intensification rather than expansion of current holdings via forest degradation,” he said.

A major outcome of the capacity building exercise for the 60 community facilitators is to increase palm oil productivity based on ecologically-sustainable land use practices that enhance Nigeria’s capacity to attain the Nationally Determined Contribution commitments in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

In Nigeria, a major challenge of smallholder oil palm farmers is access to the right information that will enable proper management of their farms for the best yield. Solidaridad is bridging that knowledge-gap with the trained community facilitators deployed to the rural communities.

– Aug. 5, 2020 @ 14:15 GMT |

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