In order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the nine Priority Areas of Government, the Federal Government has joined other member-nations on the Hand-in-Hand Initiative to strengthen Food and Nutrition Security.
The Minister of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammed Abubakar, disclosed this during the inauguration of the National Steering Committee members of the FAO hand-in-hand initiative, held in the Minister’s office, on Monday, 5th December 2022.
He stated that the initiative is designed to practically facilitate and support the implementation of the framework of the National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy (NATIP 2022-2027) towards accelerating food systems transformation, promoting rapid rural development, and building vulnerable population resilience across the country.
Abubakar pointed out that the Hand-in-Hand Initiative has been evidence-based, country-owned and country-driven, which takes cognizance of the country’s economically advantaged and disadvantaged areas in selecting the priority commodities for intervention in selected States.
He added that the programme captured the priority commodities such as Rice, Sorghum, Soybean, Maize, Fish, Tomato, Cassava and Dairy.
He says, “It is well aligned with the FAO Country Programme Framework 2018-2022 for Nigeria as well as the successor framework for 2023-2027, which focuses on managing natural resources, reducing disaster risk, strengthening food security and enabling economic diversification”.
The Minister said that the institutional set-up for the Hand-in-Hand Initiative comprised the National Steering Committee and an Inter-Ministerial Task Team that are charged with the responsibility of formulating a coherent initiative architecture, workplan preparation, programme implementation and progress tracking.
Abubakar noted that the selection of States for the intervention was based on their potential for import substitution and export promotion, amongst others.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, represented by Director Rural Development, Engr. Udo Daniel stated that the event came when the Ministry was strengthening collaboration and partnership between government agencies and development partners for a sustainable agri-food system in the country.
He noted that the contribution of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to the development of Agriculture cannot be overemphasized, pointing out that FAO had continued to initiate programmes and projects in the Ministry to ensure its sustainability for ensuring food and nutrition security in the country.
In his remarks, the FAO representative in Nigeria and to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Fred Kafeero stated that FAO priority was to support Nigeria to strengthen national food and nutrition security through enhanced nutrition, improve efficient and sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystem amongst others.
He noted that the initiative was launched by the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization in 2019 to eliminate poverty, hunger and inequalities along the relevant global development goals.