ABUJA – (Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development Report) – In a bid to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the Nine Priority Areas of Government, the Nigerian Government has joined other member-nations of FAO on the Hand-in-Hand Initiative to Strengthen Food and Nutrition Security, Manage Natural Resources, Reduce Disaster Risk as well as Achieve Economic Diversification.
The release from the Publicity Department of the Federal Ministry Agriculture and Rural Development on Monday 5th December 2022 hinted that the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Mahmoud Abubakar (Dr) revealed this during the inauguration of the National Steering Committee Members of FAO Hand-in-Hand Initiative held in the Minister’s Office on Monday, 5th of December 2022.
He stated that the initiative is meant 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.
Mohammed Abubakar pointed out that the Hand – in – Hand (HIH) Initiative is evidence-based, country-owned and country-driven, taking cognizance of the country’s economic advantaged and disadvantaged areas in selecting the priority commodities for intervention in selected States. He added that the programme plan captured the priority commodities such as rice, sorghum, soybean, maize, fish, tomato,cassava and dairy.
“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,” he reiterated.
The Minister further said that the institutional set up for the Hand – in – Hand Initiative comprises of the National Steering Committee and an Inter-Ministerial Task Team that is charged with the responsibility of formulating a coherent initiative architecture, workplan preparation, programme implementation and progress tracking.
He later noted that the selection of States for the intervention was based on their potentials for import substitution, export promotion amongst others, indicating that the States selected by the Technical Task Team were drawn from all Ministries and Agencies with technical support from reputable consultancy firms.
Earlier in his remarks, the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ernest Umakhihe (Dr) represented by the Director of Rural Development, Udo Daniel (Engr) stated that the event came at a time when the Ministry is strengthening its collaboration and partnership between government agencies and development partners for sustainable agri-food systems in the country.
Umakhihe intensified that the contribution of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to the development of agriculture cannot be over-emphasized. He pointed out that FAO has continued to initiate programmes and projects in the Ministry to ensure sustainability in food and nutrition security in the country.
While delivering his remarks, the FAO representative in Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Fred Kafeero stated that FAO priority is 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 stressed that the initiative was launched by the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization in 2019 as a means of eliminating poverty, hunger and inequalities along the relevant global development goals.
According to the report, the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the NSC members are as follows: to be the highest organ in the Governance Structure of HIH Initiative in Nigeria; to provide overall political leadership, strategic direction, and guidance for the implementation of HIH Initiative in Nigeria in line with the national priorities, among others.
In attendance at the event were the Deputy Governor of Borno State; the Ministers of Water Resources, Environment and Humanitarian Affairs; the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Development Partners among others.
Eremah Anthonia (Mrs.)
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