The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), in collaboration with Diamond Development Initiatives (DDI), as implementing partners, recently initiated a project to help address nutritional challenges in Nigeria. The Home Garden Initiative as it is named is designed to empower local farmers to grow nutritious foods in their homes. The project primarily focuses on three states: Benue, Nasarawa, and Kaduna, and it’s already in progress in these areas.

In Benue State, the Home Garden Project was launched on September 29th, 2023 in the state capital, Makurdi. The event was attended by the State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Prof Moses Ogbaji, along with other esteemed dignitaries.

As part of the initiative, local farmers were empowered with farming inputs including vegetable seeds, Amaranthus and tomato seeds, orange-fleshed sweet potato vines, organic fertilizers, and watering cans. They were also educated on best practices for growing nutritious foods in their homes.

The Home Garden project was launched in Kaduna on Thursday, October 12th, 2023. Four  Local Governments Areas were selected to benefit from this powerful initiative. The LGAs include Chikun, Giwa, Lere and Kauru. In each LGA, 440 beneficiary households also received farm inputs and basic training. This amounted to over 1700 beneficiaries of the initiative in Kaduna State.

During the inauguration distribution in Kujama, Chikun LGA, Mr. Francis Aderibigbe, representing DDI, highlighted that the initiative is a critical component of the Workforce Nutrition under the Strengthening Nutrition in Priority Staples Project (SNiPS).

Mr. Aderibigbe, who’s also the Project Coordinator for DDI, further explained that the purpose of the exercise is to offer crucial support to farming households, farmers, farmworkers, and processors within the rice and maize value chains.

Finally, in Nasarawa State, over 2000 farmers from across four LGAs including Awe, Doma, Kokona, and Lafiya were happy to receive the farm inputs as part of the initiative.

The project’s inauguration took place on Wednesday, October 4th, 2023 in Lafiya, the state capital. At the event, Mr. Godwin Ehiabhi, the Senior Program Manager for Supply Chains in Commercialization at GAIN, emphasized that this initiative will play a pivotal role in addressing the scarcity of nutritious foods throughout all 13 local government areas within the state.

Professor Ibrahim Muhammad Haruna, the Agronomist overseeing the program in Nasarawa State, emphasized the importance of establishing home gardens in the state. He highlighted that Extension Agents play a crucial role in efficiently executing the program to tackle persistent nutrition challenges among vulnerable individuals and those less privileged in society while ensuring food security.

The objective of the Home Garden initiative is to reach out and positively transform the daily nutritional intake and agricultural practices of up to 5,000 households. The initiative primarily focuses on training households in establishing and maintaining home gardens, enhancing access to quality planting materials, as well as promoting the cultivation and consumption of vegetables within these home gardens.