A Non-Governmental Organization, Life Giver Foundation has introduced the use of urine as alternative to fertilizer, to assist women farmers in addressing low agricultural yield resulting from continuous cultivation.
Executive Director, Life Giver Foundation, Sister Stella Ewa, while unveiling the project during an advocacy visit to the chairman of Ekwusigo LGA, Hon Chimezie Obi, at the local government secretariat in Ozubulu, explained that the initiative, which is supported by Arise Foundation, a United States based NGO, is primarily targeted at addressing economic hardship which has rendered many households vulnerable to human trafficking.
She said, “The project, which will be executed in four communities of Ekwusigo Local Government Area, and is expected to be replicated in other 20 local government areas of the state, will help to improve soil fertility by introducing very effective, cost friendly and easy to use fertilizer which will in turn result in increased farm yield, increase household income, nutritious food and consequently reducing vulnerability and human trafficking to the barest minimum.
“Currently, 80% of women in Ekwusigo Local Government Area (LGA) are subsistence farmers with access to very small portions of farm lands and are burdened with the responsibility of providing for their families.
“In recent years, excessive farming and climate change has increased depletion of soil nutrients in Ekwusigo LGA where most of the subsistence farmers are not able to afford fertilizer, resulting in very poor farm yields hence.
“This negatively impacts on household income as many families fall deeper into poverty, making them more vulnerable and susceptible to either giving their children out to traffickers or relatives in the city who subject their children to domestic servitude and in some cases, the women give themselves to traffickers in a bid to earn decent income to provide for their families.”
While revealing that urine use as an alternative fertilizer has been experimented successfully and needs to be scaled up in the interest of the poor and struggling farmers, Life Giver Foundation Executive Director stressed the need to secure the support and cooperation of local government leadership towards successful implementation of the project in the area.
“I thank Arise foundation for sponsoring the project and the Nigeria Conference of Women Religious for their support in preventing human trafficking through creation of various networks for awareness creation and establishing various vocational centers for training and empowering women and youth.
“Scaling up this intervention would improve soil fertility and consequently; the farm yields of the beneficiaries and their income, enabling them to provide basic necessities like nutritious meals, education, clothing and healthcare for their families as well as minimizing trafficking and unsafe migration”.
Contributing, Executive Director of Social and Integral Development Centre, SIDEC, Mrs Ugochi Agalaba-Ehiahuruike, added that the project will feature series of strategic training sessions on urine and bio char collection in Oraifite, Ichi, Ihembosi and Ozubulu as well as practical session on various farms to enable the farmers to be able to apply the initiative on their own after the intervention.
For Ehiahuruike, it is a good feeling that people will no longer see their urine as a waste but will start converting it into something useful on their farms. “This is much appreciated at a time like this in Nigeria when prices of different types of fertilizer keep rising beyond the reach of the poor and indigent farmers. The whole idea is to promote food security, curb child and human trafficking, and ensure we protect our environment looking at the issue of climate change”.
Responding, Transition Chairman of Ekwusigo Local Government Area, Hon Chimezie Obi, lauded the thoughtfulness of the foundation in coming up with an initiative aimed at reducing the growing economic burden on the people.
He pledged the council’s readiness to support successful implementation of the initiative across the four communities of the LGA.
“This idea is in the right direction. We can see the rate at which children are being turned to workers across the country. Some of them are even trafficked out of Nigeria for exploitative labour. This can be linked partly to economic hardship. So, everything done to reduce the hardship will help to curb the crime of human trafficking and others.
“I promise to give everything within our reach for the success of the project. In case you have any challenge in the course of implementation, do not hesitate to call my attention to it,” Obi said.
A member of Life Giver Foundation, Sister Doris Ohaeri, appreciated the Local Government Chairman for his interest and support for the project, even as she anticipated the organization scaling the project to other parts of the state and Nigeria at large.
The Coordinator, Small Scale Women Farmers Organization in Nigeria, SWOFON, Mrs Ngozi Obiajulu, was excited about the initiative. “This initiative is good. It will help farmers to increase productivity and lessen the cost of getting fertilizer, which only a few can afford. It has been hard for several of us especially those in rural areas.
“I will mobilize my members effectively so that they will participate very actively and be part and parcel of the programme. This project must succeed in Ekwusigo,” she assured.