The National Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer, NEPAD Nigeria, Princess Gloria Akobundu, has described the just-ended Multi-Stakeholder Consultative Meeting on Boosting Private-sector Investment in Nigerian Agriculture, which was held in Lagos at the weekend, as a call to action for Africa to rise up to the challenge to ascend to a pedestal of global relevance and significance by contributing its quota to global food and nutrition needs.
Princess Akobundu, who stated the above while delivering a keynote address at the meeting, also, informed participants that the African Union (AU) initiative to accelerate agricultural growth, improve food security and strengthen the resilience of the environment in Africa is the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). The aim of the programme, which is being driven by NEPAD Nigeria, the CEO revealed is to increase public investment in agriculture by a minimum of 10% of national budgets and to raise agricultural productivity by, at least, 6%. She sued for private-sector partnership and support to deliver on the objectives of the programme.
While lauding the efforts of the organisers of the programme, the NEPAD Nigeria boss, who was represented at the occasion by Mr Ayo Folayan, Director, Programmes Development and Implementation, (PDI), NEPAD Nigeria, said: ‘‘Forging the right partnership is crucial for the agriculture sector in Nigeria to realise its full potential for economic growth and job creation, particularly, among farmers, women and youths… the agriculture sector offers an avenue to gainfully engage them to realise their full potential’’. She, also, challenged the meeting to bring up outcomes that will have positive impacts on women and youths, if they must be encouraged to venture into agriculture as investment.
While identifying limited access to financing and inputs by farmers as one of the challenges that faces agriculture in Nigeria, Akobundu said other factors such as: Serious threat of climate change on yield, security threats to agriculture investments, including cattle rustling, kidnapping and destruction of farmlands by herdsmen, have also proven to be major setbacks to farmers, who, also, complain of lack of access to storage facilities.
Earlier, while welcoming participants to the meeting, organisers of the event, Grow Africa Partnership, called for synergy among the different stakeholders in order to achieve the objectives of the event; stressing that the public and private sectors must partner each other if Africa hoped to deliver on the strategic demands placed on its shoulders in the area of food and nutrition security in order to meet the Second Sustainable Development Goal.
Among those who attended the event, which was held at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, were representatives of Ministries, Departments and Agencies; Civil Society Groups, NEPAD Continental and other Private and Public Stakeholders in Agribusiness.
August 9, 2017.