Nigeria’s former president Olusegun Obasanjo says he is impressed with the impact the Nigeria Zero Hunger Forum (NZHF) is making in promoting healthy competition among states with a view to achieving food security.
He spoke at the forum’s meeting in Ebonyi—the second after a previous one in June in Benue.
“I see a healthy competition between states which is good, ” the former President said as participating governors recounted progress made towards food security in their respective domains.
The governors said that in less than a year the Zero Hunger initiative was already having a positive impact on the food security of their states.
According to them, the initiative through its peer advisory/review mechanism has brought a new vigor and zeal to the agricultural sector with more commitments by participating states. They also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his strong support to the states’ agricultural programs.
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, said there was now a realization of untapped agricultural opportunities that the state can explore to benefit its people, thanks to the NZHF.
“We have keyed into this program and believe that through NZHF, Nigeria will be helped,” he said.
The governor explained that the recently passed anti-grazing bill was aimed at promoting peace between herdsmen and crop farmers with a view to achieving zero hunger by 2030.
Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi state said the benefits of the Nigeria Zero Hunger initiative were priceless as participating states were learning from each other.
“When we went to Benue, we learnt from them and today, Benue and other states are here to also learn from us,” he said.
The Zero Hunger meeting in Ebonyi was attended by more than 500 persons including policymakers and development partners.
The meeting discussed the progress made by Ebonyi state towards the attainment of zero hunger.
The President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akin Adesina who was represented by the Director (Agriculture), Dr Chiji Ojukwu, commended the implementation of the initiative and reiterated the Bank’s support to feeding Africa. He reminded stakeholders that Africa must take agriculture seriously and implement policies and programs that would engender inclusive growth.
The Director General of IITA, Dr Nteranya Sanginga, pledged the Institute’s commitment to supporting and working with states to achieve their food security goals.