As this year’s World Food Day was marked with pump and pageantry, there could have been a better time than now, to accept that everyone across the food chain has an important role to play. From consumers to government and private businesses, it is time to check out what we can do to grow, nourish and sustain the food systems.
For our food systems to withstand the ever increasing volatility and climate shocks, we need to reasonably make them more resilient and robust, while delivering healthy and sustainable diets for all and of course, decent livelihoods for food system workers.
The 2020 World Food Day celebration with the theme ”Grow, Nourish, Sustain”, caught up with everyone across the globe, appreciating people who plant, harvest, fish or transport our food, calling on the public to thank all these food heroes who no matter the circumstances, continue to provide food to their communities and beyond- helping to grow, nourish and sustain our World.
As the COVID-19 global health crises opened our understanding to reflect on things we truly cherish, particularly, our most basic needs, we recall that the uncertain times made many of us rekindle our appreciation for a thing that
some hitherto, took for granted with many others, going without food. In Cross River State, a group of women farmers, under the umbrella of Rural Urban (RUBAN), march against poverty. Realizing that food is the essence of life, and the bedrock of our cultures and communities, the group set out to mobilize women into a cohesive network that provides them opportunities to preserving access to safe and nutritious food which stood as an essential part of
the response to the COVID19 pandemic. They began their classical grassroots mobilization of women farmers who put in their all, working tirelessly, clearing, tilling the ground and planting pepper seedlings, all by themselves. A
wonderful experience, seeing women, cultivating and harvesting the crops all by themselves. With the support from passionate people, the women have been working hard to assist in changing the suffering conditions of the people in
the communities As the COVID-19 global health crises opened our understanding to reflect on things we truly cherish, particularly, our most basic needs, we recall that the uncertain times made many of us rekindle our
appreciation for a thing that some hitherto, took for granted with many others, going without food.
In Cross River State, a group of women farmers, under the umbrella of Rural Urban (RUBAN), march against poverty. Realizing that food is the essence of life, and the bedrock of our cultures and communities, the group set
out to mobilize women into a cohesive network that provides them opportunities to preserving access to safe and nutritious food which stood as an essential part of the response to the COVID19 pandemic.
They began their classical grassroots mobilization of women farmers who put in their all, working tirelessly, clearing, tilling the ground and planting pepper seedlings, all by themselves. A wonderful experience, seeing women, cultivating and harvesting the crops all by themselves. With the support from passionate people, the women have been working hard to assist in changing the suffering conditions of the people in the communities.
Location is the hard-to reach poor and vulnerable communities of Boje and the improvised Katabang neighborhood. The women rose against poverty by setting up a big community farm where they are cultivating a special kind of pepper – Bird’s Eye Pepper, to be eaten as a unique local spice, as well as to be sold to raise the economic standard of the women, their households and communities.
Mr. Mkpe James Abang, a philanthropist and hospitality expert, who is a major supporter of the project, said, “the goal is to see that women can truly produce healthy food that boost nutrition, as well as economic standards, all by their own personal efforts that can catapult them into gaining entrepreneur skills and empowered households”.
“We have been at work with the rural women and girls at Boje, trying to build them to start their own innovative leadership and developmental programs that truly enhance their livelihoods”. The Bird’s eye project is enjoying full support from well-meaning people who do not want the women to farm for only a season and stop, but able to meet the demands of the offtakers. Notable among the off-takers, is Rt. Hon. Linda Somiari steward, member, representing the people of Okrika Constituency at the Rivers State House of Assembly.
We cannot talk about raised standards or enhanced livelihoods without Smart nutrition. At Unique Angels Kitchen, we take nutrition information and education to your doorstep. Smart nutrition makes people, smart families,
smart communities and resilient society. Nutrition is important for everyone. It empowers households and
communities, with healthy living and sustainable economic power.
Smart nutrition keeps you away from the doctor. This then means that it is very important to imbibe the right
attitude in life – Eating well. An excellent way to stay strong and healthy, particularly, when combined with being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight.
Smart nutrition and food choices can help you prevent Diseases- Eating the right food can help your body cope more successfully with an on-going illness. So the key facts to always remember are; *It is important to eat more
fish, less meat. *Replace red meat with chicken * Do not forget the vegetables * Spice up your food with garlic.
To commemorate this year’s World Food Day, World Rural Women’s day andWorld Handwashing Day, Unique Angels Kitchen collaborated efforts with members of the Offer of Jobs Opportunities for Women and Children, to
take nutrition information and education to Boje in Boki local government area. They celebrated achievements of rural women farmers and called for global action to support the women and girls grow their capacities to respond to
Climate Change through agricultural production, food security and natural resources management. In fact, as the world faces an Increasing critical need to address Climate Change, the important impact rural women and girls have on building resilience is undeniable. It would take not only leaders, but the whole population to make the changes for a Carbon neutral World. It was for these reasons and many more that Uniques Angels Kitchen, and members of the OJO-WACNET multipurpose cooperative society took up the challenge to celebrate the vital role that rural women play in Climate Action with a spotlight on, “Rural Women and Girls Building Resilience”. In Boje, Boki local
government areas of Cross River, women are protecting the forest and protecting themselves. The Simple Scheme that is driving revolution for the Boki family farmers is the BirdEye Pepper Project which engaged the women in
taking actions by themselves – Clearing the farm sites, tilling the ground and planting the pepper without looking elsewhere as they built enthusiastically on this their pilot project. Leading the women to actualize their dreams, Mr.
Mkpe – James Abang, Lagos-based hospitality businessman who said the celebration of the women was very necessary, noted that recognizing the strength of women in nation building is long overdue and as such, he was throwing in all his weight to ensure that investors’ interest is ignited and encouraged to invest in Boje, which he described as “uncommon fertile land”. “I am most encouraged by the State Governor’s agricultural giant strides and
I believe that if we stand as one to support the Ayade-led government by initiating self-help agric-businesses like this one, Boke stands a better chance to gain from his numerous agriculture ventures that are already helping to put food on people’s tables” He explained further that the Boje communities have been chosen for the pilot project because of the difficult terrain that characterized the localities, making it almost impossible for development programmes to be sited in the communities, even with their most friendly environment. He lamented that the longstanding plight in Boje, exacerbated with information-poor conditions have perpetually left the people hugely disadvantaged and
marginalized. He seized the opportunity to applaud the political goodwill of Governor Ayade who he said, deserves to be thanked immensely for rebuilding the Boje bridge that was left abandoned, thus ,crippled social and economic activities in the communities for a very long period.
“Governor Ayade surprised us and the entire people of Boki are happy with him. It was a thing of shame that even as headquarters of Boki, Boje was cut off from other communities as the only bridge that linked to the headquarters was swept off by flood”, he recalled, sadly.
Pst. John Ewah
Boki Local Government Area
Also speaking, the community women leader of Enyi-Boje, Mrs. Kate Kekong, thanked the organizers for the well conceived initiative to portray the plight of Boje women to the world, lamenting also that the people have suffered in time past. “You needed to see how we carried loads on our heads to cross the river with so much difficulties during
the rains but we thank God for sending Sen. (Prof) Ayade, who came to our rescue”. She said further that they are grateful for the wise choice of Pastor John Ewa as the Local Government Chairman because as a man Of God, she believes that he will not let Boje, headquarters of the local government area go back to the ugly life that hitherto left in oblivion, resigning their fate to a life of hopelessness.
The celebration of the day with the theme, “Building Women Resilience in the wake of COVID-19”, culminated into the celebration of World Food Day with the theme “Smart Solutions for Healthy Diets” and further had the Global
Handwashing Day celebration, also integrated, with the theme, “Hand Hygiene for All”, which follows the recent global Initiative calling on all Society to scale –up handwashing, especially through handwashing with soap.
The rural women farmers are helping community people and visitors to Boje maintain key vitamins and minerals that are boosting health and seeing them smiling to their banks. The rural women success story cannot be complete without making reference to the links that are creating more opportunities for the recognition and celebration of their achievements. With the help of media experts, and numerous women organizations members of the cooperative society have been graciously enjoying the magnanimity of Hon. Lindi Somiari Stewart, a Social Change Maker and an extraordinary Politician, leading in the on-going global campaign against Food Waste and farm loses.
For choosing to go organic, Hon. Stewart, who is a serving House of Assembly Member representing the People of Okirika State House Constituency at the Rivers State House of Assembly, further registered the women group
as members of the Rural Women Organic Foods and Sea Products Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society to enable their full participation in the Nubian Gem Interactive Mobile Application that creates market opportunities for
The Nubian Gem circle provides a strong interactive platform for farmers, transporter and end users to interface.
helps in cutting wastage and losses in the farm by solving the problem of lack of storage facilities in the rural farms. Nubian Gem also cuts out all the hassles of traditional farm produce shopping and delivers products fresh from the
farm. Armed with the participation in this unique space, the rural women of Boje, who hitherto were totally cut off from civilization are now gradually being integrated into the digital space which is also being prioritized in Cross River by the Digital Governor. Sen. (Prof) Ben Ayade.
Together with other notable Social Change makers in Nigeria like Mrs. Olutosin Oladosin Adebowale, the rural women have been trained on how to turn their predicament into the positivity space of Adebowale’s, “ Tosin Turns
Trash To Treasure” where less privileged women have been given hope for life.
Mkpe James Abang
Lagos-based Boje Indigene Supporting
the Growth and Development of Boje Women
Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Journalist Turning Trash to Treasure,
Global Citizen, Cattle Rearer and Supporter for
the Transformation of Rural Women.