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NEPAD says strengthening smallholder farmers crucial to food security



The National Coordinator, New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Ms Gloria Akobundu, has said that strengthening smallholder farmers capacity would end hunger and promote sustainable agriculture by 2030.

Akobundu said this in Abuja at a stakeholders forum that focused on “Strengthening Smallholder Farmers Capacities Towards Productive Land Restoration Amid COVID-19 in Nigeria”.

According to her, the forum is concerned with accelerating food security in Nigeria and cushioning effect of COVID-19 toward building long term resilience for sustainable economic growth and development.

“Involving smallholder farmers across the country will go a long way to boost food production, end hunger, improve nutrition and enhance food security.

“However, a fundamental requirement for achieving food security is the availability of land.

“This forum is to support the ruggedness of President Muhammadu Buhari and the state governors in mitigating the effects of COVID-19 and stamping out hunger in Nigeria through various intervention programmes.

“I believe that the high level of commitment shown by the governors of the participating states is due to the realisation that agriculture plays an important role in the economic development of any nation,” she said.

Akobundu said that if the various intervention programmes were implemented, new jobs would be created, poverty reduced, while more youths would be engaged more positively.

“We also figure that a massive investment into the agriculture sector will promote industrialisation,” he said.

The lead consultant of the various intervention programmes, Mr Henry Semenitari, in a remark, said that monitoring and evaluation was very important to the success of the programmes.

Semenitari commended the responses from the states, adding that the counterpart support was available.

“We shall remain ready for your demands and needs. Everyone has a role in the value chain and no one will be at a loss.

“The programme will start at the bottom of the pyramid. NEPAD is ready. African Union Development Agency is ready. The governors and states are also ready.

“We are going to use modules and techniques, including local languages, to achieve maximum results,” Semenitari said.

ROYAL NEWS reports that the Governors of Kwara, Nasarawa, Kebbi, Yobe, Plateau, Akwa Ibom and Adamawa have pledged their commitment to the programmes.

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