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Govt inaugurates national steering committees to boost food security

The Federal Government on Thursday, April 21, 2022, in Abuja inaugurated five National Steering Committees for donor-funded projects implemented by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Dr Muhammad Mahmood Abubakar
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Muhammad Mahmood Abubakar

The projects are designed to enhance food security, create jobs and diversify the economy.

The committees will work on Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP), Agro-Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project (APPEALS), and Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Programme Phase-One (ATASP-1).

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, said the inauguration marked a significant milestone in the implementation of development partners support projects in the agricultural sector.

“It is pertinent to note that the collaboration and partnership with the donors have yielded remarkable results in the development of agri-business hubs in Nigeria.

“This is so significant in the area of provision of food security, job creation, youth empowerment, rural development and economic diversification, especially now that the country is facing an unprecedented high cost of food items.

“One can see vividly that the policy and institutional framework for all the projects are in line with the core mandates of the ministry,

“The mandates food security, job creation, import substitution and economic diversification,’’ he said.

The minister noted that the projects had been without steering committees over the years, thus making it difficult to effectively tract their performance.

The is especially about tracking the approval and monitoring of Annual Work Plan and Budgets (AWPB), which is the core responsibility of the steering committees as contained in the project appraisal document, he said.

Steering committees for FGN/IFAD projects, which included Value Chain Development Projects (VCDP), Livelihood Improvement and Family Support Enterprise (LIFE-ND), and Climate Change Adaptation and Agribusiness Support Programme were inaugurated in 2021.

The ATASP-1 has the minister as chairman, leading 13 members; the RAAMP has 17 members with the minister as chairman, while APPEALS has 20 members with the minister also as the chairman.

FGN/IFAD –VCDP has 26 members with the minister as chairman, and FGN/IFAD –LIFE-ND has 18 members with minister also as chairman.

The Director, Lands and Climate Change Management Services at the ministry, Mr Shehu Bello, said members of the committees were expected to assist in addressing the challenges bedevilling the projects,

He said members were also to consider and approve the AWPB as well as support in policy matters and general oversight of the projects.

“Committee members should, in pursuance of their responsibilities endeavour to align the project activities toward the promotion of commercial agriculture to ensuring food sustainability, job creation and income generation.

“This idea will encourage large-scale mechanised agricultural production, small holder farmers along the value chain of production, processing and marketing,’’ he said.

Bello represented the permanent secretary in the ministry, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, at the inauguration.

By Doris Esa

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