In its efforts to actualise the Sustainable Development Goal of achieving food security by 2030, the African Development Bank (AFDB) has disclosed plans to invest in four states of the federation to end hunger.
The Bank said it is expecting government of the benefiting states of Benue, Ebonyi, Sokoto and Ogun to come up with proposals on how it could assist them to end hunger, as the states are expected to select two crops and one livestock where they have comparative advantage and submit the estimate to committee on the Zero Hunger Project before end of the year.
Director, Agriculture and Agro-Industry Department, AFDB, Dr Chiji Ojukwu disclosed this during the final committee meeting on Zero Hunger by 2030 chaired by former President, Olusegun Obasanjo and also supported by the Institute of Tropical Agriculture, (IITA).
He said the implementation of the five-year project would commence in January 2017, adding that Obasanjo and other state governors have thrown their weight behind the project and the final document for the project would be submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari for endorsement.
Ojukwu said, “these states have been selected to run with from January 2017, to make sure that most of these commodities where Nigeria is not meeting self-sufficiency we can push them to run and move ahead with production, processing and then the community will monitor, provide resources, bring donors like us, AfDB to support them to stand.”
The AFDB official added that the plan is to add eight states after every two years of implementation, so that in five years all the 36 states would been covered, to ensure that Nigeria would no longer be a country that cannot feed itself.
He said the focal commodities under the project include rice, beans, sorghum, cowpea, vegetables, adding that most of the spices that Nigeria produces but are not sustained would be pushed up for local production.
According to him, the project would be implemented by the private sector, while the states and Federal Government provide the enabling environment to get production moving.