By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA- FORMER President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Vice President Dangote Group, Alhaji Sani Dangote and International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, IITA, has assiduously started working to end hunger in Nigeria by 2030.
The collaboration christened, ‘Nigeria Zero Hunger Strategic Review 2030’ and the committee chaired by Obasanjo with sub-committees headed Ministers of Agric, Health, and others by Governors of Sokoto and Ebonyi States respectively was inaugurated held its inaugural meeting at IITA, Ibadan to marshal out strategies to achieve the lofty dream.
According to the programme to the committee implementation of the programme will commence in January 2017.
Obasanjo while explaining the essence of the committee and subcommittees expressed optimism and hope that Nigeria will soon be free from hunger.
He said: “We held the first meeting in IITA Ibadan and we broke into nine subcommittees to look at different aspects of what we have to do, for instance where we are now.
“There is a subcommittee on research and innovation, the need for our producers to do that, processing and marketing. We had nine subcommittees, and what we have done is that each subcommittee to submit a report and which they did, then we put the reports together in a binder. Subcommittee and leaders presented their reports and we opened the report for discussion.
“The Ministers of Agriculture, Health headed a subcommittee each, the Governor of Sokoto headed a subcommittee And also the Governor of Ebonyi headed a subcommittee.
“These were people who were with us when we had inaugural meeting at IITA. What we believe we will do is to sensitise these committees’ report to see where they overlapped, where to be fine tuned and we will have a final report by the final meeting that will look at what will be the outcome.
“The hope is that Nigeria will be agribusiness success.”
In his remarks Dangote said, “It has been a wonderful day, very interesting issues and challenges on agric, zero hunger in Nigeria which has been discussed and solutions have been already put on the table.
“I believe under the leadership of former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, on this zero hunger it is a great move to be self sufficient and food security are all the issues discussed.”
The Director General, IITA, Nteraya Saginga, emphasised on right policies to achieve a zero hunger Nigeria dream.
“Just to refer to the situation in the country today the Minister of Agriculture said the country is importing what it supposed to produce here.
“This meeting is really trying to make sure with the right policies that we can support agriculture in the next 20 years. This committee here will be self-engaging advisory committee for implementation of policies.
“The sustainable development goals of the UN for the world, and one of these goals is to help countries where is nobody sleeps without eating. The intention here is in Nigeria in 10 or 20 years nobody sleeps without eating”, he stated.
Meanwhile, the coordinator of the programme, Deputy Director General, IITA, Keton Dashiel, in his submission envisioned impact the programme will make in Nigeria.
“Nigeria will end hunger in 2030 with the commit I see now. The government is trying to create the enabling environment and the private sector will be the driver the implementation.
“In terms of provision of input, fertilizer, marketing, processing, exportation of the goods, and so it is a combination of the government and private sector, civil societies, primary, secondary schools, universities, all will be involved”, he said.