Govt, UN, Private Sector Collaborate To Boost Food Security In Nigeria

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The United Nation, Sustainable Development Goal Fund (UNSDGF), Kaduna State government and the UN Goodwill Ambassador, Roca Brothers have launched Food for Africa project to boost food security in the country.

The 3-year programme funded by the UNSDGF with $9million is targeted at training 4000 people including extension workers in Kaduna State on foods preservation techniques of tomato crop to reduce post harvest losses and also tackle the Tuta Absoluta disease affecting the food crop.

The training program which commenced with the training of 50 people would be implemented by the UN Foodand Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Training Center (ITC), International Labor Organization (ILO), Roca Brothers, Kaduna State Government and the Sahara Group Foundation.

The United Nations Resident Humanitarian Coordinator Mr. Edward Kallon, while addressing journalists in Abuja to raise awareness of FoodFor Africa project said head of the team Joseph Roca joined by the El Celler de Can Roca’s head of Catering service, Ismalia Joof would use a training-of-trainers modality to train the farmers with a view of replicating the training to reach more beneficiaries and ultimately revolutionalize the food industry in Kaduna state and beyond.

He noted that the aim of the project was to create a model where the United Nation, government, private sector can collaborate to address food security in the country and Africa at large and also improve food production technologies.

He said “the Roca Brothers are back here in Nigeria, generously giving their own time, energy and expertise and in addition have made available their technical team –on a pro-bono basis- to a programme that aspires to make needed improvement in the Agricultural sector”

He said the role of the United Nation Goodwill Ambassadors, the Roca brothers was to lend their prominence and expertise to advocate for food security, better nutrition, sustainable and inclusive development.

Kallon said “they also advise on how to improve the food industry and agricultural practices to protect the environment and create jobs, as food security and sustainable agriculture are not only intricately linked, but also tied to inclusive economic growth and youth employment and empowerment”

He attributed the food insufficiency challenge in Nigeria to reliance on rain-fed agriculture, global economic downturn, increase in food prices, climate change, insecurity and conflict.

He observed that to feed Nigeria’s growing population nutritiously and Sustainably, more effort and innovation was needed so as to make substantial improvement to the food systems adding that it would also require longer-term strategies as well as new ways of working with partnerships that span across UN, Public, Social and Private sectors.

The representative of the Roca Brothers, Joseph Roca disclosed plans to train rural women farmers on the preservation techniques for tomato so as to reduce post harvest loss of the crop.

Also speaking, FAO Country Rep, Suffyan Koroma said that the project was linked to FAO’S ongoing activities as that part effort to tackle tomatoes disease”.

He said “as it is we are trying to develop sustainability, we are looking at the complete value chain in order to create and support them, that is the young farmers to enable them learn to produce, preserve and market their products”.

Koroma said the training will empower them to be able to tackle those challenges thereby boosting food security in the state and the nation at large.