Published On: Mon, Mar 16th, 2020

Kaduna Govt., AGRA Review Agriculture Development Policy To Boost Food Security

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Kaduna, March. 16, 2020 (NEWS INVESTIGATORS) Kaduna State Government says it is reviewing its Agriculture Development Policy to scale up stakeholders’ participation in production, processing and marketing of products to enhance food security.

Mrs Halima Lawal, Commissioner for Agriculture stated this at a one-day stakeholders meeting to review the State Agricultural Development Policy through collaboration with Alliance for Green Revolution for Africa (AGRA) with support from Synergos Nigeria.

Lawal said it was part of the state government’s strive towards ensuring a stable policy for the agricultural sector:

“It is also in the bid to support the Governor’s transformation drive through a consultative engagement of all stakeholders in the sector.

“This can only be achieved, if we do a strategic involvement of everybody in dialogue. That is why we need everybody to participate and make contribution, if we do that we will be sure of an inclusive policy for gender and youth inclusion, food security through an increased productivity.

“This will be necessary to involve both the private and public sectors to take ownership of the process and to remind you that Kaduna state has limitless potentials in agriculture,“ she said.

According to her, the interactions will help us update our plan, because we actually have an agricultural plan, but it is outdated it does not take into consideration the present realities of our time, population, climate change and endemic diseases.

“We should bear that in mind as we discuss, we should think of the things that are happening around the world not just for our society; how does the happening of the world affect our society, food security , existing productivity and all that we need to address so that we can deliver on our mandate.

“If we do that, then we will be sure that we can transform agriculture from a culture into a business to ensure food security which could be key to our survival as a nation.

“I will like to appreciate our development Partner, Synergos and our implementing partner, AGRA for working tirelessly on the realization of this event.

“This programme is to help us coordinate the agricultural sector as it is the new oil.

“For our economic diversification and survival as a nation, we need to organize and coordinate this policy in a proper way with both public and private sector so that this government can deliver on its mandate of social justice, Agribusiness and food security which is very important,“ Lawal said.

The commissioner enjoined officials of the ministry and other participants to contribute positively to evolving a robust policy that would stand the test of time and create opportunities for youth and women in the state.

She said the new policy would also address issues that affect gender and nutrition challenges among both children and adults in the state.

Mrs Ester Ibrahim of the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), said the meeting would synergize with all relevant organs in agriculture to develop data that would be trackable for progress of the sector.

Ibrahim said AGRA is “working with partners and the private sector to drive the program as the government coordinates within the state.

“We hope there will be a policy document that will direct all we do around extension, mechanization, seeds, and gender which can be implemented so our farmers’ lives could have an improved livelihood.“

“Our goal is to see improved productivity among farmers and support what the SDGs are doing on poverty alleviation, food security and also empowering women, address gender issues cutting across all surface of Agriculture to see all livelihoods  improved across agricultural value chain.

“AGRA, currently working in Kaduna and Niger States hopes to reach over 1.5m people in Nigeria. In Kaduna we have reached 358, 000 farmers as at December 2019.

“Farmers  are networking on one level of intervention on maize, Rice and Soybeans which are some of our major crops in the state.

“ In Niger state we do the same while working with other partners companies on cassava production in collaboration with Nestle to bring about youth to agriculture because farming population is ageing and we need the youth population to be there to continue this profession.

“The Kaduna state ministry for Agriculture is organizing this programme with Synergos.

“We are supporting the state on capacity building for the ministry staff in order for them to plan better sectorial engagement with partners along the agricultural value chain so that we can have synergy of what we do,“ Ibrahim said.

Mr Victor Adejoh, Country Director, Synergos Nigeria, said “we are partnering with AGRA and ministry for Agriculture in key areas such as coordination, planning and budgeting, monitoring and evaluation as well as in the use of technology by the staff of the ministry.

“What we are doing here today is part of the sector’s coordination meeting where multi sectoral stakeholders gather to look at what is happening in the Agric sector.

“Also to get updates from the stakeholders on the progress made so far in the course of this first quarter of 2020 and also to look out to creating a policy document for Kaduna state.

“This is geared towards ensuring inclusiveness and participation in a way that everyone knows that government needs to diversify the sector.

“So our role is to support through technical assistance for the ministry to deliver on its core mandate.” (NAN)

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