The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), an Organisation of the United Nations has assured Nigeria of its readiness to work with the government to ensure food security in the country.
Speaking in Abuja on Friday, the New FAO representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr. Fred Kafeero said FAO would deploy its potentials in all areas to ensure Nigeria’s food security quest and also ensure agriculture makes sense to the generality of the people.
Kafeero spoke while delivering his letter of accreditation to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama also said FAO Director General, Mr. Qu Dongyu will soon be visiting the country.
He said, “Nigeria been a very important partner of FAO, with a long partnership of over 60 years, certainly, it would have been one of the first country of visit of the DG but God willing there will be opportunity.
“Personally, I am very happy to be in Nigeria, It is a very important country as I have said, we would all work and make sure that the potentials that we have in our mandate, fishery, livestock, in crops, issues of natural resources management, forestry, these is all FAO area of work . We are glad that this is a country that manifests political commitment and sustainably managing its resources for the benefit of its people.
“So I am very happy and glad to be here. I look forward to working with you and the people of Nigeria to improve food security and to ensure that agriculture makes meaningful sense to ordinary people and also contribute to the economy of the country.”
In his response, Onyeama said the Ministry will do everything possible to ensure that the new FAO representative fulfill his mandate in Nigeria.
He also informed him of the country’s efforts towards achieving food self sufficiency, which include the boarder drills (closure of the boarder) and also providing access to fertilizer for farmers.
He said, “So we look forward to working with you and very closely to help to strengthen our agricultural sector. We are doing a lot in that area, we are providing incentives to farmers and also we have done a lot in boosting access to fertilizers at affordable cost.
We have taken further measures to prevent importation of illegal agricultural products into the country so as not to make it too difficult for our agricultural sector farmers.
So we have become almost self-sufficient in certain agricultural commodities like rice and other things.
So that is the sector that as I said, we prioritise and we are doing extremely well and it is something that Mr. President is determined that we achieve total food self-sufficiency for our country.
Welcoming the new country representative, the minister assured him of the ministry’s cooperation, saying: ”as a ministry we here to cooperate with you to make it easier for you to help us-to work together.
He also added: “your presence in this country for us is very important and FAO is a very important organisation of the United Nations. As you may know, agriculture is extremely high on the list of priority of Mr. President and of this government. Food security is absolutely key for us and also to diversify our economy and to create employment, especially in rural areas. So agriculture for us is really key and the face of our development strategy for the country.
“So an organisation like yours is a vital partner for us and of course we have some challenges, security challenges that had accentuated the food deficit that we have in the country because in the north east for instance, because of the security situation they have not been able to plant and harvest and so forth. Of course few years back, Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen and South Sudan were considered by FAO and others as countries that face possible famine.
“So we appreciate the efforts organisations such as yours made to ensure that we didn’t suffer very severe consequences especially food insufficiency consequences as a result of security challenges in the North east.