US, Nigeria sign agreement to boost investment in food security
The Feed the Future initiative, coordinated by USAID, will develop the value chains of aquaculture, cowpeas, maize, rice and soybeans.
The United States and Nigeria have signed a declaration of partnership to launch a ‘Feed the Future’ Nigeria Country Plan. The five-year plan aims to increase investments in food security, build greater resilience and improve household nutrition in Nigeria.
Feed the Future is an initiative coordinated by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Nigeria is one of its target countries. The programme will focus on Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Kebbi, Niger, Adamawa, Borno, Gombe and Yobe states. It will develop the value chains of aquaculture, cowpeas, maize, rice and soybeans, while supporting increased productivity and enhanced market linkages.
According to a statement released by USAID, the new Feed the Future Country Plan will build on the successes of its $165 million investment in Nigeria since 2015. The successes include a 25 per cent decrease in child stunting and a 53 per cent increase in exclusive breastfeeding. The new Feed the Future Country Plan provides a blueprint to accelerate agriculture-led economic growth, strengthen resilience among and people and systems and support a well-nourished population, especially women and children.
“This plan will connect farmers with suppliers, improve agricultural extension services and inputs and stimulate market growth to present new opportunities for millions of households to improve their standard of living and quality of life,” said Kathleen FitzGibbon, U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission in Nigeria.
Speaking at the signing ceremony on Thursday, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Ernest Umakhihe, said: “It is our belief that this initiative will reduce hunger, malnutrition and poverty among Nigerians,” adding that the initiative builds on the federal and state governments priorities for food security and nutrition.
About 45 private sector vendors in agro-processing, agro-technology, nutrition services, and agricultural consulting services also showcased their products and services at the signing ceremony in Abuja. The Acting Deputy Mission Director of USAID, Todd Sorenson, said: “The exhibitors are a snapshot of the resources and expertise ready to play their critical part in developing a dynamic, diverse and market-driven agricultural economy.”
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