Envoy Reveals US Invested $200m to Ensure Food Security in Nigeria in 5 Years

Envoy Reveals US Invested $200m to Ensure Food Security in Nigeria in 5 Years

Michael Olugbode in Abuja

The United States Government has said it invested $200 million in food security in Nigeria in the last five years, with another $150 million given as grants to 33 private sector companies in Nigeria.
The US Acting Ambassador to Nigeria, David Greene, who spoke at the 2024-2029 Global Food Security Strategy Launch, also revealed that another $22 million has been invested in Nigeria’s cocoa value chain, spanning seven states.
The implementation of the Global Food Security Strategy for Nigeria, is expected to boost agricultural productivity and drive agriculture-led economic growth over the next five years.

The envoy however said that despite the support of the US government, Nigerians are best placed to solve the issues that affect them.
He said: “The US government is providing broad assistance across Nigeria to support agriculture development. USAID invested almost $200 million in agriculture for the last five years to improve food security and build household resilience to shocks in Adamawa, Benue, Borno, Cross-River, Delta, Ebonyi, Gombe, Kaduna, Kebbi, Niger, and Yobe states.

“We also provided modest grants to 33 private sector companies to leverage over $150 million in private sector development, generated $306 million in domestic sales and created over 23,000 jobs.”
He stated that the USAID is one of many US government agencies promoting agricultural development in Nigeria, explaining that for example, this year, the US Department of Agriculture inaugurated a $22 million, five-year investment in Nigeria’s cocoa value chain, spanning seven states.

According to Greene, the investment improves rural livelihoods by building capacity in cocoa productivity, trade capacity, and traceability.
He lamented that Nigeria is currently experiencing a severe food crisis due to insecurity, inflation, currency devaluation, the increased cost of inputs, trade restrictions, climate change, and post-harvest loss.

” In January 2024, Nigeria recorded an over 35 per cent increase in food prices, making it difficult for the 84 million Nigerians living below the poverty line to buy food. If we project out into the future, global food demand will double by 2050, and yet at the same time key staple crops are showing a decrease of up to 30 per cent.
“Furthermore, while climate change is causing extreme weather conditions like drought and floods, it is even more challenging for smallholder farmers to increase yields and incomes.

 “Ranked the sixth least prepared globally to confront climate change, Nigeria must focus on adaptation if food security is to be achieved,” he said.
The envoy also noted that US and Nigeria are engaged in exchange programmes and fellowship which aimed at equipping Nigerians.
“In the last two years, the US Department of Agriculture has also sponsored more than a dozen scientific exchange fellows to study at US agricultural universities and 30 private sector stakeholders to visit the United States, all so they can come back to improve Nigeria’s crop production, animal breeding, efficient pesticide use, and trade capacity,” he explained.

He cited the case of one  Agada Blessing, a Ph.D. student from the Joshua Sarwuan Tarka University in Benue State, a soil scientist that USAID supported to attend Michigan State University and developed her research on climate change and fertiliser use.
He said Blessing returned to Nigeria, and has been sharing her research work and organised training programme on the importance of soil management for agricultural productivity, trained graduate students and government staff on soil management for maize production across Benue State.

He noted that Nigeria is a country of immense talent and potential, saying the potential to drive agriculture-led economic growth is endless.
“ While the US government and other partners are here to support Nigeria, Nigerians are best placed to solve the issues that affect them. However, for ideas to grow and drive economic development, the Nigerian government must create an enabling environment that supports private sector-led growth and entrepreneurship.

“US companies and other US private sector stakeholders are eager to help Nigeria improve agricultural productivity, trade, and food security.  However, clear and transparent tax and investment rules are needed for meaningful growth.

“Food must be available to buy, and prices must be affordable for all Nigerians.  The Nigerian government should embrace the adoption of genetically modified crops to boost the productivity and income of smallholder farmers while removing trade restrictions, including food and agricultural import bans.  Competition and free trade fosters creativity and efficiency.

“Helping Nigerians to put food on the table can go a long way in rebuilding the reputation of the Nigerian government in the eyes of Nigerians,” he stated.
USAID Nigeria Deputy Mission Director, Sara Werth said Nigeria, like many nations, is grappling with the growing challenge of food insecurity.
She said Nigeria’s diverse ecological zones and vibrant young populace holds the key to a bountiful future.
She, however said: “But to unlock this potential, we must join hands. From government to private enterprise, to academia and the tireless efforts of civil society, let’s work together to forge a path towards food security.”

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