In an effort to improve food productivity, the Vice President, Kashim Shettima, has sought the assistance of the United States government for the agenda on food security of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration.
Shettima made the request when he met with Cary Fowler, U.S. Special Envoy for Global Food Security, as part of his schedule in the United States of America, where he identified specific challenges affecting Nigeria’s agriculture sector.
In his words: “Mechanisation is absolutely essential, good quality seeds, fertilisation, improved agricultural practices, smart agriculture, these are the solutions we seek because the whole mantra is on increase in yield, improving productivity. It goes beyond the acreage that is used for production.
“So, I am here surrounded by other stakeholders who have all the figures, facts and knowledge to make this partnership easy and smooth sailing.”
While conversing with the U.S. Special Envoy for Global Food Security, he said the Tinubu administration is ready to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to improve agricultural productivity, not only in the country, but across Africa.
Nigeria, Shettima added, will sustain existing relationships with partners in the agricultural sector.
“We will nurture it because more than ever before, we are facing food security challenges. We have to think outside the box, we have to look for ingenious solutions that can help us to overcome the challenges. I believe with your support (the political will is there now more than ever before), together, we can save humanity and serve the human race,” he noted.
Meanwhile, in his response, Mr Fowler disclosed that the U.S. government, in partnership with other stakeholders, has launched an agricultural initiative, assuring that Africa would be prioritized.
He said, “What we are trying to do here in the U.S., which we coined the ‘Vision for Adapted Crops and Soil’, is a partnership between the U.S., the AU and the FAO.
“In summary, what we are trying to do working with African countries is to help them, right from the national level down to the farmers, to manage the soil more properly and to ensure sustainability and productivity. That is on the soil side.
“On the crop side, we are extremely concerned about climate change and its effect on Africa. So, this programme that we have with the AU and FAO is focused on Africa.”
Mr Fowler further said that the programme “will look at indigenous African crops that have long suffered from massive underinvestment.
“We have established a multi-donor trust fund at the IFAD to provide long-term funding for the programme and the USAID is also involved. The U.S. government has allocated 100 million dollars to the programme.”
He, however, emphasized that stakeholders “need to work in a collaborative way with countries like Nigeria.
“We need your partnership, we need your political support to push this. We have to make these efforts more permanent; we have to institutionalise the efforts and have a strong African voice on this. We want this programme to be African led.”
The VP who attended the Belt and Road Initiative in China before proceeding to the United States is expected back in Nigeria at the weekend.