Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has said the administration is putting in place various measures and collaborating with different stakeholders to ensure zero hunger and boost food security in the state.
Speaking at a food summit organised to commemorate the World Food Day on Friday in Ilorin, the Governor listed such steps to include the soon-to-be-unveiled Kwara State Agricultural Transformation Plan to serve as a guide to attaining food security, zero hunger, and prosperity through the all-important sector.
“All of these would be made possible with the support of all stakeholders in the state, including the Kwara Agriculture Network which is our partner in the Zero Hunger Kwara Project,” AbdulRazaq said.
“This year’s programme is another opportunity to re-dedicate ourselves to improve agricultural productivity and the agribusinesses that will reduce food importation, enhance local economy, and create a sustainable livelihood and food security for the people.
“Since coming on board last year, we have taken deliberate efforts in that direction. In the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic, we provided subsidies on fertilisers for our rice farmers, amongst other inputs, and introduced the tractorization subsidy programme to ensure that more farmlands were cultivated. We have paid counterpart funds of N200m for the World Bank RAAMP project to ensure that several farming communities are connected with good roads. Between 500 and 600 rural roads would be fixed under the scheme.”
AbdulRazaq also said the state keyed into the Federal Government’s National Livestock Transformation program; and met the criteria of the AfDB to be among the hub of Special Agro processing Zones in Nigeria (SAPZ).
“We have enrolled into the World bank CARES and APPEALS programme to support rural livelihoods. Our administration has also facilitated the participation of commodity associations such as Maize Farmers Association to access loan facilities from CBN. We have also recently distributed 25,000 of cocoa seedlings to support our farmers,” according to him.
AbdulRazaq added that at least 5000 Kwara women are to benefit from the CBN Noiler chicken empowerment programme while “we are also working out a partnership with the FrieslandCampina Wamco to develop our dairy sector.”
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Muritala Olanrewaju saluted the organisers (Kwara Agricultural Network) for a carefully-chosen theme “Grow, Nourish, Prosper together” which aligns with the present administration’s policy on food and nutrition in the country.
Executive Secretary Kwara State Primary Healthcare Development Agency Dr Nusirat Elelu said the agency is also doing a lot to boost nutrition and tackle hunger.
“The Kwara State Primary Healthcare Development Agency has rolled out several programmes that have contributed to ensuring that Kwara is free from extreme hunger and one of the programmes is the World Bank Accelerated Nutrition for Result in Nigeria, of which Kwara State is also a beneficiary. In this programme, we are providing nutritious services to 22,500 women using locally available food items,” she said.
Technical Assistant to the Governor on Agriculture, AbdulQowiy Olododo, explained that the event was part of government’s actions aimed at promoting food security, food safety, and achieve zero hunger in the state.
Kwara Agriculture Network Convener Al-Mustapha Ibrahim called for a significant boost in food production and access to food.
The Kwara Agriculture Network is collaborating with the Kwara State Government and its investment partners to achieve food sufficiency and significant progress is being made in that direction, he said.
Collaborating with the state government, Kwara Agriculture Network organised the event in commemoration of the World Food Day to raise awareness against high level of hunger and promote food security across the globe.
Panellists at the event included Prof. Olajide Ajao from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho; Achebe Paul from the Union Bank; Dr Jamila Bio-Ibrahim (Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Sustainable Development Goals; and Mallam Nasir AbdulQadir.
Speakers identified the nexus between poverty and hunger, urging governments at all levels to solve poverty issue in order to achieve zero hunger in the country.
They also called on farmers to tap into various opportunities for farmers through capacity building and other interventions.