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Nigeria revives river basin authority for food security boost

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The Nigerian government has announced plans to revitalize the country’s River Basin Development Authorities to enhance food production and support citizens’ livelihoods.

Vice President Kashim Shettima made the announcement on Monday during a panel discussion titled “Innovative Financing for Food Systems Transformation” at the ongoing UN Food Systems Summit +2 in Rome, Italy.

Shettima said the Tinubu-led administration is committed to repositioning Nigeria, and a commodity marketing board has also been established to monitor food prices continuously.

“We are determined to invest in agriculture, fundamentally because the whole mantra is increase in yield because the entrepreneurial capitalism is embedded in the very psyche of the average Nigerian.

“But while we have 133 million Nigerians suffering from multi-dimensional poverty, our people lack the wherewithal to go up in the ladder of development,” the Vice President said.

By prioritizing agriculture and enhancing the security situation, the Nigerian government aims to transform the nation’s food systems for the better.

Sharing Somalia’s experience, President Hassan Mohamud discussed the country’s emergence from years of absence and the challenges it faces, including overcoming insecurity posed by terrorists that hindered farmers’ access to their farms.

Despite these difficulties, Somalia has made progress by defeating Al-Shabab in various areas and is experiencing improved weather conditions for agriculture.

President Mohamud emphasized the need for a new and creative model for financing food systems in fragile countries like Somalia, as traditional financing models may not be sufficient.

Kenya’s Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, highlighted Africa’s unique challenges, including armed conflicts, climate change, and terrorism.

He called for aggressive funding approaches to ensure sufficient food production and surplus for export.

Similarly, the Prime Minister of Niger, Ouhoudou Mahamadou, shared the challenges his country faces and the experiences in mobilizing funds for food systems transformation.

The ongoing UN Food Systems Summit +2 provides a unique platform for nations to collaborate and address critical issues in food production and security.

The panel discussion emphasized the importance of innovative financing and strategic investments in agriculture to drive sustainable growth and development across the African continent.