Famine Prevention Project - visibility

The background and current situation

On April 18th 2011, post-election violence broke out in five of the communities where the NGO, Fantsuam Foundation operates, resulting in large scale loss of lives, livelihoods and properties. Fantsuam Foundation has significant microfinance activities and provided shelter, food and clothes for over 200 people on the first day of the violence. Women and children form the bulk of people displaced and traumatised by this event.

The post-election crisis in Kafanchan, occurred just as farmers were beginning land preparations, mobilizing inputs and planting their crops. There was a pervasive sense of insecurity and poor information management which led to wide spread rumors of impending reprisal attacks, and release of inflammatory messages by SMS.

The Kafanchan market had long been a vital component of the fragile local economy and was burnt down during this sectarian violence.Trading a wide range of commodities - the most important being food - the old market provided an essential hub where individuals could buy and sell supplies, regardless of religious background. Its 800 busy shops, provided livelihoods for 2,500 people, and served the needs of both customers and traders alike, offering hope and stability to many in an area where life can be hard and, all too frequently, cruel.

Uncertainty in rainfall pattern
This year, the rains so far have been favorable: arrival was in good time, and the rainfalls have been well spaced to allow for farm operations. By this last quarter of October it is expected that the rains will start winding down. However, the level of humidity indicates that the rains may last well into November. While this will be good for yams and rice production, it will spell disaster for guinea corn and beans, and will make maize preservation more difficult.

Less acreage under cultivation:
In addition to these weather uncertainties is the fact that total acreage farmed this year is about 50% less than last year. This is because farmers were too scared to travel far from their villages to their more distant, and more fertile farm lands for fear of being attacked. Due to increased land pressure, many farmers have their farmlands some distance into the bush away from human settlements. The sectarian violence and fear of attacks prevented many from travelling out to till their further and more fertile farmlands.

Loss of farm laborers
The mortality from the political violence affected mostly young men who would normally have provided labour for the farms.

Scarcity of cash
During the two weeks of the crisis in April, the eight banks in Kafanchan were shut down leading to acute shortage of cash.

Market burnt down

The lack of cash and the burning down of the market led to severe hunger in the poorer population of Kafanchan. Prices of scarce food stuffs were high, seeds that had been preserved for planting had to be consumed for food.

The proposed Intervention

Fantsuam's women-focussed microfinance, and other services, would like to continue to act as catalyst to enhance their clients economic resilience so that they can continue to work their way out of poverty. Over half of the petty traders in the Kafanchan market are women, and they have taken the brunt of this political and economic catastrophe. By targeting women with micro-funds for their petty trading, these women who have been victims of this political mayhem, can be empowered to become catalyst for the recovery of Kafanchan’s economic life.

The month of April is the time for major agricultural activities: land preparation and planting. The trauma and loss of livelihoods has to be urgently addressed so that women farmers can get back to their farms and start farm work. If this planting season is missed, there will be no harvests this year, compounding the hunger situation. Women’s strategic roles in the food value chain of rural families will be supported by providing them with some farm inputs.

Procurement, Storage, Marketing and Distribution of grains is hereby proposed in order to stave off hunger and ensure household food security.

The scarcity of money due to bank closures and the total lack of food and farm inputs in the critical month of April have all combined to create a situation of impending critical shortages of food in Kafanchan in the next 6 months.

Proposal for a Short- and medium term intervention
Procurement, Storage, Marketing and Distribution of grains is hereby proposed in order to stave off hunger and ensure household food security.

Metal silo: safe storage. The Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has devised a metal silo for storage of maize and other cereals to protect them from moisture, rats and insect pests. The silo is an airtight cylindrical metal structure constructed by locally trained local welders for grain storage. The metal silos come in capacities of 1,000kg and cost N6,000 (US$40.00).

At harvest prices of grains in Kafanchan are as follows
100kg soya beans – N12,000 (US$80)
100kg maize – N6,000 (US$40)
100kg rice – N9,000 (US$60)
100kg beans (Ife Brown) – N20,000 (US$140)
100kg Acha – “Fonio” – N30,000 (US$200)
100kg, guinea corn – N70,000 (US$470)

Long Term intervention
Fantsuam Foundation has initiated dialogues with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan on strategies to tackle postharvest losses via processing of Nigeria’s major staples including cassava, maize, bananas, and cowpea, and promote investments in processing and packaging of agricultural products. The current number of agricultural processing firms is low compared with the demand.

 How many people will benefit from this action?

Direct beneficiaries of this action 2,500 adults directly from all sections of the Kafanchan community with emphasis on women and people with disabilities. The project will be of indirect benefit to 10,000 people

Why Fantsuam Foundation?

 Fantsuam Foundation has the capacity to carry out the proposed action and build on
this opportunity in future work.
Fantsuam Foundation, is located in Bayanloco, a peri-urban slum of Kafanchan, Kaduna State, the epicentre of the political violence. Its integrated suite of services aimed at eliminating poverty and disadvantage focuses on Sustainable Livelihoods, Health and Education. All of these have been targeted at the same communities that have now been subjected to political thuggery and sectarian violence. Fantsuam Foundation ability to recognize and respond to the needs of its beneficiary communities.
Fantsuam Foundation is non-religious and non-political. Over the years it has grown into a highly respected and trusted organization as evidenced by the number of people who came for refuge in its premises during this crises. The Foundation is a leading member consortium of civil society entities to participate in multi-stakeholder consultations aimed at breaking the cycle of violence and its consequent under-development in
Kafanchan

Sustainability Plan

This intervention is within the institutional service of the Fantsuam microfinance program. This program has already supported its clients with food, clothes, shelters cash grants and loans provided by Fantsuam Foundation’s supporters from Friends of Nigeria, Dadamac-UK and Nigerian Patriots Initiative. The scale of the proposed intervention is at a pilot level, whose performance can be used to develop future interventions with various stakeholders. The grains will be sold at cost price directly to families during the hunger months from
February to May 2012. The capital will be re-invested for further grains for the 2013. The program will benefit from the existing Monitoring and Evaluation mechanism of the Fantsuam Foundation microfinance program.

The administration of the project will be undertaken with representatives of major stakeholder from all segments of the Kafanchan community: all tribes, all religions. Faith based organizations, community development based organizations, Government agencies.

For further onformation or to support this project please contact John Dada
Position: CEO Fantsuam Foundation
Email: johndada@fantsuam.org
Tel: +2348027820332

Dadamac is hleping this project to be more visible