Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Federal Government has indicated interest to join over 20 countries to participate in the Hand-in-Hand Initiative by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which is aimed at accelerating agricultural transformation and sustainable rural development.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, who disclosed this recently when he hosted FAO’s Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr. Fred Kafeero, added the scheme would help in addressing the issue of flood and transportation of foodstuffs.
In a statement released by National Communication Officer of FAO, David Tsokar, he said: “There are incidents of floods in most parts of the country, where much of the food is produced, like we have in Kebbi state; we have also seen growing conflicts over land resources; yet many farmers still face challenges related to market access. All these affect farming and food production.
“The initiative is good for Nigeria and we commend FAO for introducing it to Nigeria,” he said.
The Hand-in-Hand initiative was launched last year by FAO’s Director General, Qu Dongyu, to support
evidence-based, country-led and country-owned investments for eradicating poverty and ending hunger and all forms of malnutrition.
The Minister, who said the idea was timely for the country as it would undertake to ensure food security and nutrition to all Nigerians, directed that a letter expressing Nigeria’s interest to participate in the initiative be drafted.
“Despite the plethora of challenges that have threatened food security in the country, the current administration is focused on empowering the rural people, through modern food and agricultural systems that emphasize a value chain approach to feed its people and create jobs,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, Kafeero, made a presentation on the Hand-in-Hand initiative to the Minister, drawing his attention to opportunities under the initiative for transforming agriculture and fostering effective partnerships with multilateral agencies, private sector and Development partners in the country and beyond.
“The initiative helps countries to develop independent investment plans to close food gaps, end malnutrition, support economic development and reduce environmental impacts with concrete evidence.
All of which will lead to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals particularly goals number one and two on poverty eradication and ending hunger,” he said.