A large part of the Nigeria Crisis Response in 2016 is providing seeds for this planting season. The first distribution took place at one of our care-centers near Abuja. The disaster team coordinated the distribution. The care-center includes enough land to give each of the 70 households a small plot. People can also rent additional lands to produce more crops.
Elizabethtown members who visited Nigeria in January have been sharing their stories with churches. They have been tirelessly promoting the seed distribution and their efforts have brought in significant funds towards the goal of $347,000.
Here is an excerpt from a Newsline piece about the seeds project. The Nigerians of the northeast are traditionally an agrarian people. Many make their living from farming or they subsidize their incomes or their diets by tending small farms or gardens.
Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe, once considered Nigeria’s poet laureate, wrote a book titled, “Things Fall Apart.” The book was about the rhythms of life associated with the agricultural life in Nigeria and how things changed when white missionaries came bearing the gospel message. But what we learned from this book was the importance of the planting and harvest times to life in Nigeria. The planting comes as the annual rains begin in May and June. Then, after a productive growing season, the harvest takes place in the fall, providing food and incomes for the coming year.
Over the last few years, the violence and destruction carried out by Boko Haram have adversely affected farming as well as communities and church life. Now, since the return of Nigeria’s military to the area, tensions have lessened and people are returning to their traditional homes and villages. Among the biggest needs we see for the coming year are seeds, herbicides, and fertilizer so that planting can begin again on a large scale. Our plan is to help provide the means for the people to get back to the land and return to the one thing that has sustained them in the past–farming.
Through the Nigeria Crisis Fund, we are planning to provide money to purchase seeds, herbicides, and fertilizer that will assist Nigerians in helping themselves. If we can do this, then come harvest time this fall, we can reduce the amount of funds required to provide food distributions, and may be able to close out that phase of our response.