Emergency goat distribution to restore livelihoods in North East Nigeria
To strengthen resilience of communities from the loss of livestock assets, Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, has distributed 3600 goats to improve household nutrition and rebuild livelihood of vulnerable communities. Around 900 vulnerable women including some from women headed households are being assisted.
This is part of efforts led by the government to restore livelihoods and combat critical levels of food insecurity and malnutrition in areas inflicted by Boko Haram violence. The conflict has provoked the displacement of up to 2.4 million people. Many of them got their livestock confiscated or left these assets behind to flee for their life, thus impairing their livelihood. Hosting communities also suffered severe livestock losses due to poor access to animal health services as a result of damage to veterinary infrastructure.
This emergency distribution has come as the Government of the Republic of Ireland contributed USD 325,326 to rebuild livelihood and address food insecurity to combat hunger in North East Nigeria. The goat distributions have targeted, internally displaced population, returnees and host communities in Borno. The local government area of Borno – Jerre, Maiduguri Metropolitan and Kondua is where the goats were distributed. Four goats, three breeding females and one male distributed per household.
“Animal restocking is crucial for the benefit of women for whom goats play a major role for the household nutrition security through the provision of milk and a source of revenue to address other household challenges”, says Patrick David, interim Country Representative, FAO, Nigeria.
After receiving four goats, 35-year-old Bintu Usman, a host community member said, “We don’t have food sometimes, my husband is paralyzed for last 5 years due to injuries sustained during the conflict. As an only earning member, I will keep these goats to reproduce so we can sell some of them and buy grains”.
This handover of goats is complimented by World Food Program (WFP)’s provision of cash based assistance to the women beneficiaries.
The two track approach of “cash + livestock” named “cash + approach” will ensure that communities can sustain their livelihoods while they re - launch themselves into this short cycle livestock activities.
To make this livelihood sustainable, FAO further ensured that goats that meet specifications of good health and breeding performance are distributed to the communities.
“ We tag these goats, weigh them, collect temperature and blood samples to ensure these are healthy goats and they can reproduce. This will provide long term livelihood support to communities”, said 46-year-old Dr. Mohammad Modu Bukar, University of Veterinary Teaching Hospital, the facility in charge of goat quarantine and certification.
The Director of Agriculture at Jerre stated that efforts to distribute goats to vulnerable women would have a positive impact on farmers.
All partners involved urged the communities to not sell the goats until they have reproduced to sustain this livelihood support.