Nigeria's Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar has inaugurated 5 National Steering Committees for Donor Funded Projects being implemented under the Ministry to enhance food security, job creation, rural development and economic diversification.

Speaking during the inauguration ceremony held at the Minister’s conference room on Thursday, the Minister stated that the inauguration has marked a significant milestone in the implementation of Development Partner Support Projects in the Agricultural sector.

He recalled, the National Steering Committees for FGN/IFAD Projects, which included Value Chain Development Projects (VCDP), Livelihood Improvement and Family Support Enterprise (LIFE-ND) and Climate Change Adaptation and Agribusiness Support Programme (CASP)) inaugurated in 2021 and three Donor assisted projects, namely; Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP), Agro-Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project (APPEALS), and Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Programme Phase-One (ATASP-1)).

According to the Minister, “It is pertinent to mention, that the collaboration and partnership existing between the donor assisted projects have yielded a remarkable result in the development of Agri-business hubs in Nigeria.”

He added that, “This is so significant in the area of provision of food security, job creation, youth empowerment, rural development and economic diversification especially now that the country is facing an unprecedented high cost of food items.”

Dr. Abubakar informed that, “Over the years, Projects have been without Steering Committees, making it difficult to effectively track their Performance especially, the Approval and Monitoring of Annual Workplan and Budget (AWPB), which is the core responsibility of the Steering Committees as contained in the Project Appraisal Document of all the Projects.”

Earlier in his remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, represented by Director Lands and Climate Change Management Services, Engr. Shehu Bello, stated that, “members of the National Steering Committee of the Donor Partners Assisted Projects, are expected to assist in addressing the challenges bedeviling the projects, consider and approve the Annual Work-Plan and Budget (AWPB) as well as support policy matters and general oversight of the projects amongst others.”

He urged the newly inaugurated Committees to endeavor to align the project activities towards the promotion of commercial agriculture (Agribusiness) to ensure food sustainability, job creation and income generation. The ATASP 1 has the Minister as the Chairman with thirteen other members, RAAMP has 17 members with the HMA as Chairman, APPEALS also has HMA as Chairman with 20 members, FGN/IFAD – VCDP has 26 members with HMA as Chairman and FGN/IFAD-LIFE-ND has 18 members with HMA as Chairman.

In another event, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, represented by the Director, Special Duties, Mrs. Fausat Lawal, stated that low grade grains is an alternative feed for livestock farmers in the country.

Dr. Ernest Umakhihe made this known during a capacity building workshop on the Utilization of Low Grade Grains and Alternative Feed Ingredients for Climate Smart Animal Feed Production and Distribution of Feed ingredients to livestock farmers and feed millers from the FCT, Niger and Nasarawa States, at sustainable feed mill Gwagwalada, Abuja.

He stated that ‘’ the workshop will provide the needed knowledge that will sustain the achievements and further proffer solutions to overcome the complex challenges caused by COVID-19 Pandemic in the animal feed’s sub-sector, adding that nutritious animals’ feeds are essential for development and productivity in Animal Husbandry practice.

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