FMARD, IOFS Converge To Address Food Security Among Members

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The representative of the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe (middle) flanked by participants during the workshop in Abuja.

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), in collaboration with the Islamic Organisation for Food Security (IOFS), have converged in Abuja, to address the global issue of food security and agricultural development in the world, particularly amongst its member states.

Speaking during the workshop held in Abuja recently, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri, represented by the ministry’s permanent secretary, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe said that the workshop on strategic planning and policy development in food security would provide the opportunity for dialogue and discourse on achieving a strategic food reserve system, increase production, mobilise resources as well as ensure food and nutrition security among members.   

The minister said that Nigeria has been selected by the IOC to serve as a hub for food grain storage for its member countries.

Shehuri noted that the selection was apt, as the country already had over 36 strategic grain reserves across the country, adding that some had been concessioned while seven were under the supervision and control of the ministry.

He pointed out that Nigeria has demonstrated belief in the principles and objectives that established the organisation through the implementation of several initiatives in line with the IOFS Action Plan, as conceived during the 40th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Conakry, The Republic of Guinea, in 2013.

Shehuri stated that the organisation is a specialised institution of the IOC, an inter-governmental organisation, established in 1964 and Nigeria became a member in 1986, as well as a member of the Agriculture Working Group in 2017.

The minister revealed that the IOFS had not deviated from its core principle of providing expertise and technical know-how to member states on the aspects of sustainable agriculture and rural development in addressing current issues threatening food security in the world, particularly in Africa.

He emphasised that the country was open to direct investments in its agricultural sector to leverage the gains achieved through the diversification policy of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government. He, therefore, charged participants to proffer solutions to the current food security challenges at the end of the workshop.

In his remarks, the director-general, IOFS, Yerlan Baidulet said that the objective of the workshop was to build the capacity of government officials on basics and practices of strategy development, legislation improvement and creation of government inter-sectorial mechanisms on food security.

He added that the organisation would ensure that the food system remains capable of addressing the problems of access to food and adequate nutrition.

Earlier, the officer in charge of the organisation’s regional hub of Abuja (IsDB Nigeria), Mamadou Alpha Bah disclosed that over 80 participants from 13 member states of IOFS were participating in the two-day workshop.

Bah pointed out that the significant essentials of sustainable food systems were effective and competent food security governance aimed at overcoming the food security problems (including hunger and malnutrition) through developing and implementing the national and sub-national legal and regulatory frameworks on food and nutrition security, among others.

A statement by the ministry’s director of information, signed by Ikemefuna Ezeaja, said the highlight of the two-day regional workshop was the presentation of certificate to participants by the representative of the minister. 

In attendance was the director-general of IOFS, the officer in charge of the regional hub (Abuja IsDB), representatives of IOC member states, among others.

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