*As Onyeama seeks sub-regional solution
Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has disclosed that it is planning to organise a livestock development conference later in the month to address challenges in the sector.
FAOâ€™s Country Representative to Nigeria, Suffyan Koroma, made the disclosure when he presented his letter of commission to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, in Abuja Tuesday.
According to Koroma, the conference would be part of the organisationâ€™s support at improve the utilisation of grazing reserves in the country.
â€œOur support to improve the utilisation of grazing reserves and stock routes to mitigate conflicts and promote commercialised stock production has led to calls for a national conference on livestock development.
â€œThe conference is expected to come up with comprehensive recommendations to address all issues associated with grazing reserves and livestock production; this will happen sometime this month.
â€œWe are also looking at developing a national dialogue for the livestock policy development,â€ he said.
The Country Representative noted that the activities of the organization in responding to the crisis in the northeast was â€œfully alignedâ€ with the intervention initiative of the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
Koroma disclosed that the FAO had been in support of Nigeriaâ€™s economic growth plan and agricultural promotion policy aimed at reducing food and agricultural imports and boosting exports.
â€œThe strong confidence my UN colleagues have in my technical and leadership ability led to revised implementation modalities of the UN sustainable development framework for Nigeria.
â€œIt also put FAO as the lead agency for the diversified economic growth outcome area which is a key aspiration for Nigeria within the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.â€
Responding, Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, commended the FAO for responding to the crisis in the North-east.
Onyeama said the resumption of the new country representative would contribute to â€œmore holistic approach to putting agriculture in front and centre of our development goalsâ€.
He also commended the initiative to organise a livestock development conference adding that the transhumance crisis needed to be addressed sub-regionally.
â€œThis has led to conflict and security issues and it is one of the items we also want to place on the sub-regional agenda of ECOWAS because it is not just a national issue.
â€œThe transhumance aspect of it is significant and we have to adopt a sub-regional approach to addressing that issue; the national conference to address that will be important,â€ he said.