FAO’s campaign is a part of an agricultural support programme, funded by the European Union Trust Fund (EUTF), to support conflict-affected youth for employment and income generation.
As of May 2019, FAO has distributed a bull each to 450 youth in Jere, Konduga, Mafa and Dikwa local government areas (LGAs). In Borno, a total of 2,000 bulls will be distributed to youth by 2020.
“There was no one in Dikwa LGA who did not know Kaka Ali,” said Ali, a 34-year-old who started trading household commodities when he was 17. When Ali’s shops were burnt down by insurgents in 2014, he escaped with his family to Maiduguri. Since returning to Dikwa in 2017, he has depended on the meagre income from construction work. In May, he was given a bull under the EUTF programme for fattening. “This bull is now my only hope of restarting my business,” said the father of eight.
Ali and other beneficiaries will be supported with cash to meet their daily needs while they fatten the animals, disincentivising the premature sales of the bulls. It is envisaged that after six months of fattening, beneficiaries can earn between US$420 and US$550 from the sale of each bull. Earnings can be re-invested into another cycle of bull fattening or for strategic investments in petty trading, small shops, etc. The livestock restocking campaign is part of an expansive agricultural support programme, designed to assist 100,000 vulnerable farming households between 2018 and 2020 in Borno State.
Enhancing employment beyond the FAO intervention
“Youth employment is an antidote to radicalisation and is crucial to sustaining peace in volatile regions such as northeastern Nigeria,” said Suffyan Koroma, FAO representative in Nigeria. “Through these bulls and other livestock, the livestock value chain in the state, which has been affected by the conflict, can be restored and youth will be at the helm of this restoration,” Koroma shared.
Under the EUTF project, 4,500 female-headed households are targeted for goat (three females and one male) distribution, and 2,000 youths are targeted for bull distribution. In addition, 24,000 pullets will as well be distributed to 2,000 women in the state. Each woman will get ten pullets and two cockerels. These inputs are expected to contribute to the restoration of agricultural livelihoods in the State, boost employment and income generation, and enhance household nutrition.