(Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development Report) – The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and the Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS) have converged on Abuja to address the global issue of Food Security and Agricultural Development in the world, particularly among Member States.
Speaking during the Workshop held in Abuja recently, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Baba Shehuri represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Ernest Umakhihe (Dr) said that the Workshop on Strategic Planning and Policy Development in Food Security would provide opportunity for dialogue and discourse on achieving a strategic food reserve system, increased production, mobilize resources as well as Food and Nutrition Security among Members.
The Minister implied that Nigeria has been selected by the IOC to serve as hub for food grain storage for its member countries. Shehuri also noted that the selection was apt as Nigeria already has over 36 strategic grain reserves across the country, adding that some have been concessioned, while seven are under the supervision and control of the Ministry.
He pointed out that Nigeria has largely demonstrated firm belief in the principles and objectives that established the Organization through the implementation of several initiatives in line with the IOFS Action Plan as conceived during the 40th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Conakry, Republic of Guinea in 2013.
Mustapha Shehuri continued that the Islamic Organization for Food Security was a specialized institution of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (IOC), an Inter-Governmental Organization that was established in 1964 with Nigeria becaming a member in 1986 as well as member of Agriculture Working Group in 2017.
Shehuri further revealed that the IOFS has not deviated from the core principle of providing expertise and technical know-how to Member States on aspects of sustainable agriculture and Rural Development towards addressing the current issues threatening food security in the world, particularly in the African region. He emphasized that the country is open to direct investments in the Agriculture Sector to leverage on the gains achieved through the diversification policy of President Muhammadu Buhari-led Government. He charged participants to proffer solutions to the current food security challenges at the end of the workshop.
In his remarks, the Director General of the Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS), Yerlan Baidulet said that the objective of the workshop was to build the capacity of government officials on the basics and practices of strategy development, legislation improvement and creation of government inter- sectorial mechanisms on food security. He added that the organization would ensure that food systems are capable of addressing the problems of access to food and adequate nutrition.
Earlier in his comments, the Officer in Charge of the Regional Hub of Abuja – IsDB Nigeria, Mamadou Alpha Bah disclosed that over 80 participants from 13 Member States of IOFS were participating in the two-day workshop. Bah pointed out that the significant essentials of sustainable Food Systems was effective and competent Food Security Governance that aimed at overcoming the food security problems, including hunger and malnutrition through developing and implementing the national and subnational legal and regulatory frameworks on food and nutrition security among others.
The highlight of the 2 Day – Regional Workshop was the presentation of certificates to participants by the Representative of Minister. In attendance were the Director – General of IOFS, the Officer in Charge of the Regional Hub, Abuja IsDB, Representatives of IOC Member State among others