As part of efforts to achieve food security, the United Nation Sustainable Development Goal Fund (UNSDGF) in partnership with the Roca Brothers has launched a $9million Model Training Programme to build the capacity of women farmers on food preservation techniques.
The project tagged ‘food Africa’ for farmers in Kaduna State is aimed to boost food security and expand knowledge of agriculture extension officers in the state.
The United Nation Resident Humanitarian Coordinator Mr. Edward Kallon during a press briefing, yesterday in Abuja said the three years programme will target 4000 women and would eventually be scaled up to other states of the federation and Africa at large.
According to Kallon, the Food For Africa project would be implemented by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), International Labor Organization (ILO), International Trade Centre( ITC), Kaduna State government and Sahara group Foundation.
His words: “It is an SDG fund’s joint program, Food Africa, the Roca Brothers are back here in Nigeria, generously giving their own time, energy and expertise and in addition have made available their technical team –on a pro-bono basis- to a programme that aspires to make needed improvement in the Agricultural sector”
He maintained that the aim of the project was to create a model where the United Nation, government, the private sector can collaborate to address food security in the country and Africa at large and also improve food production technologies.
He said the role of the United Nation Goodwill Ambassadors, the Roca brothers was to lend their prominence and expertise to advocate for food security, better nutrition, sustainable and inclusive development.
Kallon said “they also advise on how to improve the food industry and agricultural practices to protect the environment and create jobs, as food security and sustainable agriculture are not only intricately linked, but also tied to inclusive economic growth and youth employment and empowerment”
He attributed the food insufficiency challenge in the country to reliance on rain-fed agriculture, global economic downturn, increase in food prices, climate change, insecurity and conflict.
He observed that to feed Nigeria’s growing population nutritiously and Sustainably, more effort and innovation was needed so as to make a substantial improvement to the food systems adding that it would also require longer-term strategies as well as new ways of working with partnerships that span across UN, Public, Social and Private sectors.
The representative of the Roca Brothers, Joseph Roca disclosed plans to train rural women farmers on the preservation techniques for tomatoes so as to reduce the post-harvest loss of the crop.
In his remarks, FAO Country Representative, Suffyan Koroma said that the project was linked to FAO’S ongoing activities as that part effort to tackle tomatoes disease.”
“As it is we are trying to develop sustainability, we are looking at the complete value chain in order to create and support the young farmers to enable them to learn to produce, preserve and market their products,” he said.
Koroma emphasized on benefits of the training to addressing various challenges confronting the sector, thus boosting food security in the country.