FG, IFAD collaborate on value chain projects to improve food security

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By Palma Ileye

Federal Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, FMAFS and International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD have restated commitments to collaborate on value chain projects to improve food security in the country.

Giving his remarks during the High-Level Mission of IFAD’s Associate Vice President, Dr. Donal Brown, to Nigeria yesterday, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari stated that the trio of the Inclusive Agri-Food System Transformation, Smallholder farmers’ empowerment and Innovative Financing were levers of change that offers a unique opportunity to accelerate global food systems growth, leveraging on new sustainable models for better agricultural productivity, safer environment, richer nutrition, and better livelihood for rural communities.

Kyari restated that Nigeria was committed to working closely with IFAD on Inclusive Agri-Food System Transformation and Smallholder farmers’ empowerment.

He noted that the commitment to partnership with IFAD on Innovative Finance for Food System was evident in its participation in the United Nations Food System Stocktaking Moment in July, 2023.

He said that the smooth implementation of the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise – Niger Delta, LIFE-ND, Value Chain Development Program, VCDP, Additional Financing, AF and Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone, SAPZ Program underscored the unique quality of FG’s strategic partnership.

“It is my strong belief that some of the next steps in the implementation of LIFE-ND which include the approval of one year extension, request for $20m additional Financing, AF and preparation of LIFE-ND phase 2 will be given accelerated attention. I will also like to appeal for the release of $5m ASAP grant to VCDP for climate change adaptation as well as the approval of her request for two-year extension to enable the program improve on its disbursement status.

“Nigeria is committed to IFAD’s future trajectory especially and essentially on leveraging innovation for agri-food system transformation. In line with this pathway, the Federal Government of Nigeria, FGN, is prepared to organize an agriculture and food security summit this year.

“It is designed to bring together a diverse community of organizational partners and strategic stakeholders representing the public, private and social sectors in a commitment to make this wider view of innovation and new technologies significant enabling factors for Inclusive Agri-Food System Transformation and Smallholder farmers’ empowerment,” the Minister explained.

Adding that he was confident that promoting Inclusive Agri-Food System Transformation, Smallholder farmers’ empowerment and Innovative Financing was the way to go and assured of strong commitment to the multilateral partnership.

He commended the International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, for being a formidable force in addressing unprecedented challenges facing the global food system saying that the focus of IFAD on Innovations for a Food-Secure Future as exhibited in the last 47th Session of IFAD Governing Council Meeting in Rome is a right step in the right direction.

On his part, IFAD’s Associate Vice President, Dr. Donal Brown who said the visit was timely, reiterated that: “IFAD provides the platform for African Agricultural Transformation Initiative, AATI, we hope to acquire and support that platform, then we can now support the Government of Nigeria, it is what we do with some of our partnership like the AATI as well as our co-financing.

“Nigeria is one of our strongest partners, and part of my mission is to help strengthen and deepen the partnership. I have heard the good things of the Life project and I am supportive of additional financing for a second phase. I also hear good things about the value chain development projects and I also hear some issues on how we can improve efficiency and performance in that project and I will like to address those issues we can look at in respect to that project.”

He added that some of the key projects which the Nigerian Government identified with has had significant impact at improving production and IFAD can play the part of financing the Government in that side of things.