Nigeria Mobilizes Over $500 Million for Food Systems Transformation Initiative

Vice President Sen. Kashim Shettima announced that Nigeria has successfully mobilized over half a billion dollars for an ambitious and transformative food systems initiative. The Vice President disclosed this significant achievement during his chairmanship of a high-level meeting on the opening day of the UN Food Systems Summit in Rome, Italy, presided over by the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guteress.

The funds, amounting to over $500 million, were raised through a combination of domestic resources, contributions from multilateral development banks, international financial institutions, climate funds, and leading agro-businesses. The financial allocation will be channeled towards the Innovation finance for food system transformation, the development of Nigeria’s agro value chain, and the establishment of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones programs.

The Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) was also highlighted during the discussions. This unique initiative, co-funded by Nigeria and IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development), has empowered vulnerable farmers and youth to engage in commercial partnerships with prominent food processing and marketing companies, including OLAM, a world-leading agri-business company.

Vice President Shettima further emphasized the government’s vision to end hunger and lift rural smallholders, youth, and women out of poverty. The Federal Government is committed to strengthening Nigeria’s rural sector by harnessing the potential of the new Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones, involving a collaborative effort with local governments, IFAD, AfDB (African Development Bank), IsDB (Islamic Development Bank), GCF (Green Climate Fund), OLAM, and other private actors.

During the summit, Vice President Shettima participated in a panel discussion alongside leaders from Somalia, Kenya, and Niger Republic. He underscored President Tinubu’s dedication to transforming the concept of modern governance by prioritizing food security and considering it a crucial aspect of the National Security Council’s agenda.

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Regarding Nigeria’s economic recovery, Vice President Shettima revealed the government’s actions to tackle obstacles such as the subsidy on petrol and the multiple exchange rates system. The subsidy on petrol was removed, and measures were implemented to mitigate its effects by ensuring the immediate release of grains and fertilizers. Additionally, a commodity marketing board has been established to monitor food item prices closely.

The Vice President also highlighted the President’s commitment to enhancing security architecture in regions affected by insecurity, especially the northeast and northwest. The goal is to provide support and protection for farmers and agricultural activities.

The UN Food Systems Summit was inaugurated by Secretary-General Antonio Guteress, who praised the participating countries for their dedication to tackling the global challenges of hunger and malnutrition, emphasizing the summit’s crucial role in ensuring the fundamental right to food.

Vice President Shettima also held a bilateral meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to discuss issues relating to the development of both nations. He was accompanied by Nigeria’s Ambassador to Italy, Mfawa Abam, Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Sen. Ibrahim Hadejia, and other senior government officials.

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