By Greg Jones (22) 66-68
In October this year, John Dada emailed a proposal to a number of donor organizations including Friends of Nigeria (FON). The purpose of the proposal was to mitigate anticipated food shortages during the “hungry season” –the period toward the end of the dry season when food runs out and new crops have not had a chance to grow. Unfortunately subsequent events have made the need for this effort even greater. [See John’s report of the recent violence in Kafanchan, p.14.] According to John the uncertainty of or duration of rainfall, loss of manual farm labor, reduction in total area of land cultivated, 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 six months.
In response to John’s request, FON is mounting a holiday appeal for donations to support The Fantsuam Foundation in its efforts to deal with the disruption. Funds collected will be used specifically in the following manner in this ongoing effort to procure, store, market and distribute grains:
The purchase of metal silos.
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has devised a metal silo for the 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 welders specifically for grain storage. The silos hold up to 1,000kg and cost N6,000 (US$40.00).
The purchase of grains.
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)”
Again, this proposal is very specific:
$40 buys a locally constructed silo capable of storing 1,000 kilos of grain (2,200 pounds) and $60 buys 100 kilos of rice to store in the silo. Safe storage prevents spoilage and minimizes loss due to consumption by pests (rodents, bugs, etc.). Safe storage allows the silos to be filled during the harvest, when prices are cheap, and used when prices are high, if the food is available at all. If we were a big organization like Heifer International, we could set up a donation program where individuals could designate their money for a silo or for an amount of beans to fill it. Since we are small, such a program is beyond our scope. But rest assured that any donations will be spent responsibly.
Fantsuam is directly involved in the community and responding to its needs. They could use our help now more than ever.