Seven states picked for FG, UNDP food security resilience project

Potato Farmers

Better days may be in the offing for Nigerian farmers searching for resilience to climate risks and other shocks that drive food insecurity, if developments recently are anything to go by.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Federal Ministry of Environment has selected seven States for the implementation of the Fostering Sustainability and Resilience for Food Security in the Savanna Zones of Northern Nigeria.

The programme will enhance long-term sustainability and resilience of food production systems in Nigeria, by building greater community resilience.

To this effect, the Federal Ministry of Environment and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) organized a two-day inception workshop in collaboration with UNDP to kick-start the implementation of the project in Kano recently. Other partners include Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN).

The five-year project, which is expected to kick-off in 2018 in the seven states of Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Gombe, Adamawa, Nasarawa and Benue, which already have existing programmes on food security, will have selected project sites in 70 communities of 13 LGAs of Dutsima, Musawa, Kabo, Gwarzo, Jahun, Katungo, Balanga, Yola South, Fufore, Akwanga, Kokona, Otukpo and Ukum respectively, in reflection of the three major agro-ecologies of the northern part of the country’s Savannah Zones.

The project coordinator, Prof. Emmanuel Oladipo explained the major challenges precipitate food security include unprecedented growth in the country’s population, shrinking farming workforce and poor infrastructure.

He said “ puts food security in danger unless the decline in food production is offset by vast increase in-country food production and food imports despite infrastructure, production and market support service constraints”.

Prof. Oladipo who analyzed barriers and proposed solution to the implementation of the GEF projects reminded that all stakeholders most take ownership with exiting agricultural extension structure in states where the implementation would be carried out.

UNDP Team Leader, Environment and Sustainable Development, Mr. Muyiwa Odele, said the importance of the project cannot be over emphasized, noted that, it is rooted in the national priority of the Federal Government.

“There is no better time to start talking of food security than now considering the decline in oil prices worldwide and many countries are now phasing out dependence on oil.

“The population of the country is increasing, therefore, we hope to strengthen the food chain system in the country against climate change as well as work with both the state and federal levels in eventually feeding the country and beyond conveniently,” he added.

The Deputy Director, Agriculture Mechanisation, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Abdullahi Abubakar, assured that the project has come to stay and they will do every thing possible to sustain it.

Stressing further, Abubakar, an engineer, noted that women would greatly benefit from the project as they are deeply involved in agricultural processing which is a target.

The Founder and Executive Director, WOFAN, Hajia Salamatu Garuba, who extolled the project for being gender-sensitive, stated that it would make it a reality for women to come together and use agriculture as a livelihood.

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