Home » Nigeria Seeks Gates Foundation’s Aid to Boost Food Security and Agriculture

Nigeria Seeks Gates Foundation’s Aid to Boost Food Security and Agriculture

he country’s Vice President met with a delegation from the foundation to discuss possible collaborations in the agricultural sector.

by Motoni Olodun

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and largest economy is facing a serious food crisis that threatens the lives and livelihoods of millions of its citizens. The country’s food inflation is the highest of the inflationary rate in the country, standing at a staggering 31.52% according to the recent release of the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Similarly, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) projected that 26.5 million Nigerians will face hunger in the next year.

The main causes of this situation are the continued conflict, climate change, inflation and rising food prices that have affected the agricultural sector, which is the main source of income for several hundred million people who struggle with poverty and hunger. Most of these people are connected to small-scale, or smallholder, farms that produce most of the population’s food. However, these farmers face many challenges, such as a lack of access to improved seeds, fertilizers, irrigation, extension services, markets and credit.

To address this problem, the Federal government is seeking the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the world’s largest philanthropic organizations, to invest in the agricultural sector of the country and help to reduce the food crisis. The Vice President, Kashim Shettima, stated this on Wednesday during a meeting with a delegation from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation led by the President of its Global Growth & Opportunity Division, Mr Rodger Voorhies, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

According to Shettima, the country requires a strategic partnership to accelerate the process of agricultural productivity and transformation in the country as well as promote food security. He said the government is investing heavily in agricultural innovation and best agricultural practices to enhance productivity, but it needs the expertise and resources of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate its progress.

He added that if a nation is not independent in food production, it remains a dependent nation. He therefore solicited the partnership and attention of the foundation to join the government in its drive towards combating poverty and hunger in sub-Saharan Africa as it did in Southeast Asia.

On his part, Mr Voorhies said his team’s objective is to enhance existing collaborations with Nigeria while also exploring opportunities for new partnerships with the new administration, especially in priority sectors. He lauded the Tinubu administration’s agenda on food security and healthcare delivery while acknowledging the Vice President’s leadership and commitment to nutrition and agricultural transformation. He assured of the foundation’s commitment and readiness to support efforts aimed at achieving set goals and objectives.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been supporting agricultural development in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia for over a decade, investing in tools and technologies that target the specific needs of smallholder farmers. The foundation also supports the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), which aims to increase agricultural productivity through promoting the use of hybrid seeds and synthetic fertilizers.

The meeting between the Nigerian government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is expected to pave the way for more concrete and fruitful cooperation in the agricultural sector, which is vital for the country’s economic growth, food security and poverty reduction. It is also hoped that the partnership will help Nigeria achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially the goal of ending hunger and malnutrition by 2030.

Source: Nairametrics

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