Before the initiative, 70% of the residence of the FCT lives in rural areas and this population is largely agrarian practicing subsistence farming with little or no access to information and modern agricultural inputs. The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCT) benefited a conditional grant from the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) debt relief gain to undertake poverty reduction programs and projects in line the goals of the MDGs in the year 2008.
In order to implement the poverty reduction programs and projects, a baseline survey was conducted among 858 communities of FCT in 2008, in which poverty and related indicators for each community within the FCT were captured as a benchmark for intervention. Agriculture and related activities were identified as having the greatest potentials of providing means of sustainable livelihood in the rural communities and thus the choice empowerment project in agriculture.
Specifically, the survey reveals the following;
2% of residents’ of these Communities earn over 50,000 Naira annually.
50% of families in the 858 communities earn between N20, 000 – N50, 000 Naira annually.
Another 39% earn from N10, 000 – N20, 000.
• Only 2% of the communities/farmers have access to tractor, plough bulls compared to 89% that depend on hoes and cutlasses for their farming
• Only 4% of the communities have access to Agricultural-extension services, the remaining 93% are without.
• Over 67% of communities have no access to fertilizer
Based on these appalling statistics the FCT MDGs came up with Community Empowerment Agricultural initiative to address some of these problems in the poor communities. This is specifically targeting MDGs 1, 2 & 3. The services rendered in this program includes technical support in terms of extension services to farmers, inputs supply which includes and not restricted to tractors, fertilizers, seeds, pesticides and market support through bulk purchase of agricultural produce from farmers by government.
Community Empowerment Agricultural Initiative (CEAI) is designed to empower women and youth through agricultural activities in order to address the issues of poverty in the rural areas. The initiative seek to increase access to information, agricultural inputs, equipment and extension services to enable the women and youth to move away from the traditional farming practice to modern farming techniques for increase food production, wealth creation and agribusiness development the rural communities.