Okunland Farmers’ Development Initiative (OFDi), a national Non-Governmental Organization (NGO)established in response to the need to assist the disadvantaged farmers and other rural communities by approaching development from a wider perspective, focuses on a synergy between Agriculture & Rural Development (ARD) and Water, Sanitation &Hygiene(WASH).
Targeting farmers for development became apparent from the 28th Regional Conference for Africa in Tunis from March 24 to 28, 2014 when the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nation (FAO), in collaboration with the Government of Tunisia,called on African Ministers of Agriculture for action in priority areas to accelerate increased investment and broad-based transformation in support of farmers, women and youths, as a pathway to social inclusion, food security water security and sustainable development.
Again, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was adopted by the United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty among others by 2030. The 17 SDGs identified for development to take place require a balance of all the goals. For instance, the SDG-2 is on ending hunger and achieving food security and improved nutrition while SDG-6.1 is on clean water and sanitation. Water is among the most essential substance that nature provides to sustain life. However, the use of polluted water for irrigation in the country is on the increase, albeit without considering the issue of water quality and the impact on the health of farmers and consumers. Water that is safe at source stands the risk of being contaminated through handling and other anthropocentric activities.
It is worthy of note that majority of rural dwellers, whose primary occupation, farming, plays a key role in nation building and food security, are still the most food and water insecure with relatively low levels of agricultural productivity, low rural incomes and high rates of malnutrition, lack access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene and lack information about weather and climate change. They also face numerous challenges including difficulties in accessing cultivable lands; improved seeds and seedlings; access to other input and financial services; agricultural extension and technology transfer; lack of experience and knowledge of market information; lack of business management and entrepreneurial skills.
As a strategy, OFDi partners and collaborates with relevant stakeholders in achieving a balance between food and water security through capacity building, participatory action and steering of farmers and communities toward self-sufficiency in food and safe water for domestic and agricultural use; promoting grass root governance and inclusiveness to address poverty and inequality.
Welcome on board.
Professor Abayomi Oloruntoba
Executive Secretary- OFDi-Nigeria
OFDi has a central role to play in partnership and collaboration with a view to make it more responsive to the yearnings and aspirations of farmers, farmers’ organizations and stakeholders in the public institutions, private sectors, civil society/NGOs, universities, research institutes, foundations, other centres of excellence and development implementers in the delivery of programmes and projects in agriculture, rural development, water, sanitation and environmental health. Therefore, as a strategy, OFDi builds on multi-stakeholder partnership and collaboration to strengthen its structural base for sustainable agricultural development, ensure food and nutrition security, improve governance at the grassroots, promote the development of skills and knowledge to adopt new and improved agro-technologies, promote healthy living, enhance market access, trade, general well-being and living standards.