By AbdulFatai Beki
Ilorin, Oct 18, 2020 Kwara Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, has said the administration is putting in place various measures and collaborating with different stakeholders to ensure zero hunger and boost food security in the state.
The governor gave this assurance on Sunday at a food summit organised to commemorate the World Food Day in Ilorin, the state capital.
The governor listed such steps to include the soon-to-be-unveiled Kwara State Agricultural Transformation Plan which will serve as a guide to attaining food security, zero hunger and prosperity through the all-important sector.
“All of these would be made possible with the support of all stakeholders in the state, including the Kwara Agriculture Network which is our partner in the Zero Hunger Kwara Project,” AbdulRazaq said.
According to the governor, “This year’s programme is another opportunity to re-dedicate ourselves to improve agricultural productivity and the agribusinesses that will reduce food importation, enhance local economy, and create a sustainable livelihood and food security for the people.
“Since coming on board last year, we have made deliberate efforts in that direction. In the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic, we provided subsidies on fertilisers for our rice farmers, among other inputs, and introduced the government tractor hire service scheme to ensure that more farmlands are cultivated.
“We have paid counterpart funds of N200 million for the World Bank RAAMP project to ensure that several farming communities are connected with good roads. Between 500 and 600 rural roads would be fixed under the scheme.”
AbdulRazaq also said the state keyed into the Federal Government’s National Livestock Transformation programme; and met the criteria of the African Development Bank (AfDB) to be among the hub of Special Agro-processing Zones in Nigeria (SAPZ).
The governor added that at least 5,000 Kwara women are to benefit from the Noiler chicken empowerment programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) while “we are also working out a partnership with the FrieslandCampina Wamco to develop our dairy sector.”
Also speaking at the summit, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Muritala Olanrewaju, saluted the organisers, Kwara Agricultural Network, for a carefully-chosen theme “Grow, Nourish, Prosper together” which aligns with the present administration’s policy on food and nutrition in the country.
The Technical Assistant to the Governor on Agriculture, AbdulQowiy Olododo, explained that the event is part of government’s actions aimed at promoting food security, food safety, and achieve zero hunger in the state.
The Kwara Agriculture Network Convener, Al-Mustapha Ibrahim, called for a significant boost in food production and access to food.
The Kwara Agriculture Network is collaborating with the Kwara State Government and its investment partners to achieve food sufficiency and significant progress is being made in that direction, he said.
Collaborating with the state government, the Kwara Agriculture Network organised the summit in commemoration of the World Food Day to raise awareness against the high level of hunger and promote food security across the globe.