Governors of 11 states of the federation yesterday in Abuja commended the United States government for its assistance in ensuring food security through the implementation of the Feed the Future Nigeria Country Plan.
The states are: Adamawa. Benue, Borno, Cross Rivers, Delta, Ebonyi, Gombe, Kaduna, Kebbi, Niger and Yobe where the country plan will be implemented.
Commending the initiative, they said it would help in boosting the agricultural sector of the economy and address the nation’s challenges of food insecurity, malnutrition and hunger.
Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State said the U.S government initiative was of great importance to Nigeria because food security is a key element of international security.
Bagudu said that the initiative would also create a platform for opportunities that would link small holder farmers to investors, especially from the private sector.
“What is a common feature to all the eleven states and indeed all Nigeria States is that Agriculture is undertaken by millions of hardworking men and women who are often small, family based farmers.
“They are looking for opportunities, so what is a valuable thing to do for them is to link their efforts to opportunities and such opportunities include improvements in their agronomy practices.
“Linking them to market or ensuring policies which are in place to complement their small scale capacity.
“I am glad that what the Global Food Security Strategy has the capacity to do is to help us optimise those linkages in such a way that the benefits will be realized by majority,” Bagudu said.
Bagudu said that initiative like this would also help improve local production with hopes of boosting exportation.
Also speaking, Mr Benson Abounu, Deputy Governor of Benue said that ensuring food security was the third pillar of Benue Government programme under the current administration.
Abounu said that the Feed the Future Nigeria Country Plan will further help the states in realizing its goals of food sufficiency for the people of Benue and Nigeria as a whole.
He said that as an agrarian state and the food basket of the nation, Benue takes seriously and was concentrating on developing small holder farmers, who constitutes 80 per cent of the population.
Abounu said that as part of efforts to improve the quality of agriculture in the state, the state government has embarked on scientific farming with collaborations with the University of Agriculture, Makurdi.
Representing the Gombe State Government, Mr Mansor Jato, said the initiative was very important to the state, which plays host to a large number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
He explained that as one of the relatively peaceful state in the North East, Gombe State was saddled with feeding and catering for the upsurge of IDPs from other states.
He said that the state would require every help and assistance from the U.S government to lift the state out of its current state.
Representatives of the other Governors from benefitting states also commended the initiative, pledging their full commitments to the implementation.
The U.S and Nigerian Governments on Thursday signed a declaration of partnership to launch the five-year Feed the Future Nigeria Country Plan to increase investments in food security.
The Feed the Future is a U.S government initiative coordinated by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to sustainably reduce global poverty, malnutrition and hunger and boost economic growth.
The country plan provides a blueprint for inclusive and sustainable agriculture-led economic growth and strengthening resilience among people and the system.
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