By Hillary Asemota
The Federal Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) in collaboration with the Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS), have concluded arrangement to tackle global food insecurity in Nigeria and other developing countries.
Speaking during the workshop held in Abuja, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Mustapha Baba Shehuri, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, said the workshop which was on strategic planning and policy development in food security would provide opportunity for dialogue and discourse on achieving a strategic food reserve system, increase production, mobilize resources as well as food and nutrition security.
The Minister said Nigeria had been selected by the IOC to serve as hub for food grain storage for its member countries.
Shehuri, noted that the selection was apt as the country already had over 36 strategic grain reserves across the country, adding that some had been concessioned while 7 others were under the supervision and control of the ministry.
He pointed out that Nigeria had largely demonstrated firm belief in the principles and objectives that established the Organization through the implementation of several initiatives in line with the IOFS Action plan as conceived during the 40th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Conakry, Republic of Guinea in 2013.
Shehuri, stated that the Islamic Organization for Food Security was a specialized institution of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (IOC), an Inter-Governmental Organization that was established in 1964 and Nigeria became a member in 1986 as well as member of Agriculture Working Group in 2017.
The Minister revealed that the IOFS had not deviated from the core principle to provide expertise and technical know-how to Member States on aspects of sustainable agriculture and Rural Development in addressing current issues threatening food security in the world, particularly in the Africa region.
He emphasized that the country was open to direct investments in the Agriculture Sector to leverage on the gains achieved through diversification policy of President Muhammadu Buhari led Government.
He, therefore charged participants to proffer solutions to the current food security challenges at the end of the workshop.
In his remarks, the Director General, Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS), Yerlan Baidulet said the objective of the workshop was to build the capacity of government officials on basics and practices of strategy development, legislation improvement, creation of government inter- sectorial mechanisms on food security.
He added that the organization would ensure that food system were capable of addressing the problems of access to food and adequate nutrition.
Earlier, Officer in Charge of the Regional Hub of Abuja- IsDB Nigeria, Mamadou Alpha Bah, disclosed that over 80 participants from 13 Member States of IOFS were participating in the two-day workshop.
Bah, pointed out that the significant essentials of sustainable Food Systems was effective and competent food security governance that aimed at overcoming the food security problems, including hunger and malnutrition through developing and implementing the national and subnational legal and regulatory frameworks on food and nutrition security among others.
In attendance were Director General of IOFS, Officer in Charge of the Regional Hub, Abuja IsDB, Representatives of IOC Member State among others
Signed: Ezeaja Ikemefuna,
Chief Information Officer
For: Director, Information (FAMRD