From: Bamidele Fashube, Abuja
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), on Tuesday, expressed optimism on the possibility of Nigeria achieving food sufficiency as the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, was absent at the rally to celebrate the World Food Day.
There was no clear reason the minister was absent at the rally but was represented by Director of Policies, Planning and Coordination, Nasiru Adamu.
Speaking during a rally as part of the celebration, Country Representative of FAO, Suffyan Koroma identified need for the country to add value to its agricultural products in order to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030 FAO.
He said government should invest in value addition of agricultural produce to make desired impacts.
Koroma, who addressed the media after a sensitization walk to celebrate the 2018 WFD in Abuja, said for food prices to reduce, efficiency of value added to agricultural products must be assured.
However, he urged the government to put in place necessary legislative and infrastructural frameworks to help the achievement of zero hunger goal by 2030.
He restated need to address basic agricultural challenges such as; climate change, farmers herder clashes, pest and animal disease among others in other to meet the set goal.
According to him, “Nigeria should be free from hunger by 2030 but that is not just about agriculture as we know it. It goes beyond that because if you look at the complementary services that agriculture needs to strive, they are also valuable as the product that we produce from the farm.”
“For food prices to be lower, it does not just mean production, it means the value added products the services we provide, how efficient are they, the effective legislature contribute to zero hunger and also knowledge as to what to produce for world market. These are all the ingredients that we need, transportation, energy, education, legal framework.
“These are all the efficiencies that we need for agriculture to survive. We cannot just produce. How would you produce without adding value, it is useless. How do control for animal diseases and pests control, conflicts emerging climate issues of flooding. All these are relevant to achieving the zero hunger.
“I hope we continue the stride of this government in enhancing strides in achieving zero hunger by 2030.” he advised.
In his address, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, described the rally as apt for the year’s theme.
He appealed to private investors, civil societies and development partners to join the government in its drive to end extreme poverty and malnutrition.
Ogbeh, who was represented by the Director, Policies, Planning and Coordination, Nasiru Adamu, said the principle of the present administration is to treat agriculture as business while stressing that before now a lot of people look down on agriculture.
“It is a well cut out theme at this period when impact of climate change is very much devastating on food production and food security. The theme can be actualised if government, private sector and development partners work in collaboration to fight hunger, extreme poverty and malnutrition.
“The principle of this administration is to treat agriculture as business. Before now a lot of people look down on agriculture,” he noted.