The National Assembly has called for the immediate empowerment of farmers with modern tools and financing to address the challenge of hunger and food insecurity.
Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Kalu, made the call in Abuja at a High-Level Strategic Engagement on Climate Change, Food Systems and Resource Mobilisation.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the event was organised by the African Union Development Agency- New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA-NEPAD).
Kalu specifically called for urgent steps to address Nigeria’s food security challenges and harness agricultural opportunities of the nation.
He said there was the need for collaborative efforts among government, businesses, and communities to create an environment conducive to private investment and responsible practices.
He underscored the pressing need for action amidst a growing population and climate change impacts.
According to him, the government had set some ambitious goals, including a 25per cent increase in food production and the creation of 10 million new jobs in the agricultural sector by 2030.
The lawmaker equally drew the attention of the audience to President Bola Tinubu’s declaration of a state of emergency on food security.
Speaking in the same vein, Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa stressed agriculture’s critical role amidst climate change and evolving food systems.
He restated the state’s unwavering commitment to agricultural advancement in order to drive sustainable socioeconomic development and improve citizens’ lives.
According to the governor, the state had partnered with industry leaders like Olam and Dangote to foster a dynamic agribusiness landscape.
The National Coordinator, AUDA-NEPAD, Nigeria, Gloria Akobundu, acknowledged the staggering number of individuals facing hunger in Africa and the pivotal role of smallholder farmers in building resilient food systems.
Akobundu called on development partners, private investors, and the diplomatic community to collaborate in supporting smallholder farmers and ensuring a prosperous and food-secure future for all.
“We at AUDA-NEPAD Nigeria have long stood at the forefront of the charge for facilitating resilient food systems in Nigeria, in the face of the food crisis on the continent.
“Today’s event is a follow-up to our numerous out-door engagements with development partners on capacity building and resource mobilisation for smallholder farmers,” she said.
On his part, Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, Africa Union (AU) Special Envoy on Food System said Africa has a rich agricultural heritage in producing staple crops such as rice, maize, millet, and cassava.
Mayaki identified challenges facing the sector to include, limited access to modern inputs, inadequate infrastructure, and vulnerability to climate change.
In addressing the challenges, he said there were promising initiatives aimed at promoting agricultural development in the region.
The initiatives, according to him included, regional cooperation frameworks such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Agricultural Policy (ECOWAP) which seeks to enhance food security, promote agricultural trade.