By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja
The United Nations Development Programme Goodwill Ambassadors yesterday began the training of 50 farmers in Kaduna State Under the Sustainable Development Goals Fund(SDGF).
Speaking at a briefing with Journalists in Abuja yesterday, UN resident/ Humanitarian Coordinator, Edward Kallon said the Goodwill Ambassadors( the Roca Brothers) who are acclaimed master chefs are passionate advocates for Food that is locally grown and produced in an environmentally friendly way.
He said “It is the SDG Funds Joint programme,Food Africa which they are implementing together with the Food And Agricultural Organisation (FAO), the International Labour Organisation (ILO),International Trade Centre( ITC), Kaduna State Government and Sahara Foundation”
Kallon said “Josep Roca is joined on the mission by El Celler de Can Roca’s head of catering from the neighboring Gambia Ismalia Joof and they are there to deliver their first training on food preservation techniques”.
He said “The training will span over two days to a group of 50 beneficiaries including young women,men and Agriculture extension workers in kaduna state using a trainer of trainers modality,with a view to replicating the training to reach beneficiaries and ultimately to revolutionise the food industry and beyond.
Kallon said” In their role as Good will Ambassadors, the Roca Brothers are lending their prominence and expertise to advocate for Food security,better nutrition and sustainable and inclusive development.
“They also advise on how to improve the food industry and agricultural practices to protect the environment and create jobs,highlighting the food security and sustainable agriculture are not only intricately linked but also tied to inclusive economic growth and youth employment and empowerment” he said
Noting that those are critical issues for Nigeria, a country where agriculture is the mainstay of the domestic economy as it employs approximately two thirds of the country’s total labor force and contributes to 40 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP.the UN Resident Coordinator said “Nigeria is currently facing a food insufficiency challenge due to various factors including reliance on rain fed agriculture,global economic downturn,increase in food prices,climate change and also insecurity and conflicts”.
Also speaking, FAO Country Rep, Suffyan Koroma said “the project is linked to FAO’S ongoing activities as that part of the country has problems of tomatoes disease”.
He said “as it is we are trying to develop sustainability, we are looking at the complete value chain in order to create and support them, that is the young farmers to enable them learn to produce, preserve and market their products”
Koroma said the training will empower them to be able to tackle those challenges thereby boosting food security in the state and the nation at large.
SDGF Director,Paloma Duran(Ph.D) said the total budget of the project is $9m,targeting 4,000 beneficiaries over a 3 year period.