NIGERIA – Nigeria and the United States of America and have signed a declaration of partnership to launch a five-year plan to improve food security, build greater resilience, and improve household nutrition in the country.

Dubbed ‘Feed the Future Nigeria Country Plan’ seeks to boost agribusiness in the country as well as improve food production.

The declaration of the partnership will develop five of the agricultural value chains as prioritised by the government; aquaculture, cowpeas, Maize, Rice, and soybeans.

Speaking at the ceremony in Abuja, the US Chargé d’Affaires Kathleen FitzGibbon described the plan as a five-year roadmap that will among other things, assist communities to withstand unanticipated shocks such as the drought that affects food production.

He added that the initiative will also contribute to improving the health of some of the country’s most vulnerable communities.

“The US government has invested $165 million (N50.56bn) toward agriculture and economic development in Nigeria over the last four years. This new county’s plan anticipates continuing our investments in Nigeria’s agriculture over the next five years.

“The Country Plan combines new and existing projects and will connect farmers with suppliers, improve agriculture extension services and inputs, and stimulate market growth.

“The private sector is critical to this effort with roles and with responsibilities and incentives that are clear and transparent.

“They will become the main drivers of economic development to achieve long-lasting success in making agriculture a robust contributor to Nigeria’s prosperity and Nigeria’s health,” FlitzGibbon said.

The Nigeria Country Plan will focus on eleven states: Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Kebbi and Niger. Others are Adamawa, Borno, Gombe and Yobe states, reports Daily Trust.

The Permanent Secretaries of the federal ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development Dr. Mohammed Bello Umar stressed that the partnership will strengthen the nation’s economic recovery plan.

The USAID Acting Deputy Mission Director Todd Sorenson said the exhibitors represented “a snapshot of the resources, assets and expertise available and ready to play their critical part in developing dynamic, diverse and market-driven agricultural economy.

He listed other partners to include universities, research institutes, international organisations, local and international NGOs, civil society, the media, and donors.

Also, at the launch, over 20 private sector vendors in agro-processing, agro technology, nutrition services and agricultural consulting services exhibited their products.

In the past years, the two governments have been working in implementing ‘Feed the Future’ through the Global Food Security Strategy Country (GFSSC) Plan for Nigeria aimed at enhancing food security and nutrition in the country.

The GFSS Country Plan serves as an overarching framework for integrated food security and nutrition programming intended to describe the key drivers of food insecurity, malnutrition and poverty.

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