By Sodiq Lawal
In an effort to make food systems more sustainable, the Federal Government has begun arrangements to establish Internet access at farm settlements in Nigeria. The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, disclosed this in Abuja during the inauguration of a 20-man steering committee on state implementation of the food systems transformation pathway in Nigeria. According to the minister, priority actions include disseminating information about weather patterns and soil properties, and best practices for crops, livestock, aquaculture, and poultry production.
It also include states establishing farm settlements/estates with all basic amenities, including Internet, to discourage rural-to-urban migration and the promotion of Operation Feed Yourself. He said, “The Federal Government, through the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, regularly collect and disseminate, through radio and other platforms, useful information about weather patterns and soil properties and best practices for crops, livestock, aquaculture, and poultry production. Information is disseminated in time to inform food production decisions for each rainy and dry season.
“States establish farm settlements/estates made up of groups of smallholder producers, including women and youths, and use estates to increase input supply, machinery hiring, extension and other services, and market access. Farm settlement estates include all basic amenities (including Internet), to discourage rural to urban migration. The Federal Government, through Local Government Areas (LGAs), promotes Operation Feed Yourself by helping households access information and inputs that will encourage them to produce food around their houses to feed their families”, as the minister noted further that the journey for transforming the food systems started in 2020 with the call by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Antonio Guterres that countries should take proactive measures to make their food systems more sustainable and resilient.
He noted that the steering committee would meet at least, once in every quarter, either physically or virtually, as may be agreed by members and the chairpersons. The Committee, chaired by the Minister, has co-chairmen and members from government agencies-in-charge of economic planning, agriculture as well as some stakeholders from non-governmental organisations, development partners and the private sector while saying that the steering committee would provide leadership for the implementation of all 78 recommendations for transforming Nigeria’s food systems.
Agba maintained that the implementation, therefore, required the input of all the committee members to sustain the commitment of Nigeria to the transformation of food systems in the spirit of achieving the United Nations 2030 Agenda. The Director of Social Development, Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Dr. Sanjo Faniran, advised the committee to commence the implementation processes immediately. He also stated that the zonal consultation retreat would be held in two locations for the southern and northern zones, saying that southern zone would be in Benin while northern zone would take place in Kano.