UNDP and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in partnership with Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), convened stakeholders from the groundnut and rice industry in Nasarawa State and Abuja, for summits aimed at advancing inter-state food commodity value chains. This initiative, undertaken in two different locations (Abuja and Nasarawa) is part of an ongoing programme focusing on fostering sustainability and resilience for food security in the Savannah zones of northern Nigeria.
The events, facilitated by Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN) were attended by various actors along the value chains of both rice and groundnuts, state representatives, among others. The participants discussed various issues critical along the two crops’ value chain; – they discussed challenges that farmers involved in the production of these crops face including financing, transportation, storage and pricing of the crops.
Infrastructure remains a key challenge in the cassava and rice value chains in Nigeria and continues to hinder progress in realizing the full potential that these crops and agriculture in general could contribute to diversifying the country’s economy.
The events were also used to shared some of the findings from research conducted in establishing effective ways to remove toxins that affect the quality and yield of crop produce. Also discussed were areas along the value chain that needed deliberate support in order to close the financing gap between the rural and commercial farmers.
The government of Nigeria has placed agriculture at the centre of its economic diversification agenda. However, making it a true business will require strong partnerships between the public and private sectors and developing policies that will reduce the cost of doing agric-related business in the country.
The event discussed and establish linkages through the creation of an innovation platforms which will provide sustainable structures for advancement of a win-win interstate food commodity value chain.
UNDP, represented by Mr. Oladipo Osibo, expressed gratitude at the support and partnership with the stakeholders who attended the summits and reaffirmed UNDP’s commitment to supporting national efforts towards making agriculture a business. The events were organized within the framework of a four-year GEF project (Integrated approach programme for fostering sustainability and resilience for food security in the savannah zones of northern Nigeria) whose aim is to aim to develop and implement a long-term sustainable and resilient food production system in Nigeria and link farmers to a solid agricultural financing and marketing mechanism.
Speaking at the event in Nasarawa, the First Lady the State, commended the effort by UNDP and GEF in bringing together initiative as she reiterated that women and youth empowerment remained key to the development of her State. She reaffirmed the commitment of Nasarawa State to the partnership with UNDP and other States in securing successes from the intervention.
“We have to rethink Agriculture in Nigeria. We want farmers to produce their seeds by themselves and therefore call on the government to provide equipment that will be ease this process,” stated Hajia Salamatu Garba, Executive Director of WOFAN. She added that the farmers and women in particular needed government’s support in ensuring adequate opportunities are provided for them in order to enhance their skills and agriculture and entrepreneurship.