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NAPAC trains FCT IDPs on organic gardening

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By Abraham Adekunle

Agency's director says the program was to commemorate independence.

The Nigerian American Public Affairs Committee Foundation (NAPAC), a US-based non-governmental organization (NGO), has, on October 2, 2023, trained Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in FCT on sustainable organic garden farming and waste-to-wealth skills. The two IDP camps in Wassa and Kuchigoro are located in the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nigeria. Mrs. Zainab Mohammed, the NAPAC Board Director on Sustainable Food Security and Economic Empowerment Programme, said that the event was part of the NGO’s annual programs to commemorate Nigeria Independence Anniversary.

Organic farming, also known as ecological farming or biological farming, is an agricultural system that uses fertilizers of organic origin such as compost manure, green manure and bone meal, and places emphasis on techniques such as crop rotation and companion planting. Originating from the 20th century, certified organic agriculture accounts for 70 million hectares (170 million acres) globally. And it continues to be developed by various organizations today. In this kind of practice, organic standards are designed to allow the use of naturally-occurring substances while prohibiting or strictly limiting synthetic substances.

Program was to give the IDPs an exit strategy.

Mohammed, while addressing the beneficiaries of the training at Wassa IDP Camp, said that the program was to teach them modern-day innovative farming in their backyards using organic materials. She noted that it was part of the group’s mission to give back to the people as well as to contribute to food security and economic empowerment in the country. As much as the workers were there 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,” she said. The purpose was for them to start having an exit plan. Once they are economically stable, they will start thinking of how to move on. She said that the group was there to train them how to do modern-day farming, purely organic farming for health reasons. Also, they were to teach some of the women on waste to wealth practices using common day household items such as plastic, throwaway bottles to make school bags, purses, and tyres to make earrings.

Women can now farm without the risk of being raped, killed or kidnapped.

According to Mohammed, modern-day farming was important, especially with the challenges of hindering people, especially women, from going to farms in different parts of the country. The director said that the beneficiaries would be equipped with 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 ways of farming these days. “We farm in sacks; farm around our environment,” she said. “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.”

She said that plastic bottles are used to make some spices and herbs. Also, almost 200 sacks were brought there to grow yam, potatoes and so many things in sacks. That is modern-day farming. The nature of farming in Nigeria, especially in the northern region where insecurity is rife, women are at a disadvantage. Women cannot go into farming because they are at risk of being raped, killed or kidnapped because of the banditry. As IDPs, they have the opportunity of farming organically instead of using chemicals or exposing themselves to harm.

Training was not political or because of the government.

Most importantly, she added that the training had nothing to do with politics and government but individuals who believed in giving back to society. Meanwhile, Ijeoma Ndulue, sustainable organic farming expert, said that one aspect of the training was how the beneficiaries could use organic materials around them to farm instead of using chemical-based fertilizer. Ndulue said that organic farming was not only sustainable but also had high yields as well as help to reduce the effect of climate change.

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