From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
The United States of America has invested $165 million towards agriculture and economic development in Nigeria over the last four years.
The Chargé d’affaires of the USA mission in Nigeria, Kathleen FitzGibbon disclosed this during a statement on the launching of the Global Food Security Strategy and made available to the media in Kaduna yesterday.
According to her, the project Feed the Future Nigeria Country Plan combines new and existing projects and will connect farmers with suppliers, improve agricultural extension services and inputs, and stimulate market growth.
She added that, the project presents new opportunities for millions of households to improve their quality of life and standard of living.
FitzGibbon further said private sector is critical to this effort.
With roles, responsibilities, and incentives that are clear and transparent, the private sector will become the main driver of economic development to achieve long-lasting success in making agriculture a robust contributor to Nigeria’s prosperity and Nigerians’ health.
“It is my pleasure to join you all as we celebrate the declaration of a new partnership that will help Nigeria embrace agriculture as a driver of the country’s economy, and help improve the resiliency, nutritional status, and health of Nigerians in rural areas of eleven states.
“The Feed the Future Global Food Security Strategy Nigeria Country Plan is a five-year roadmap to boost the agri-business industry, assist communities to withstand unanticipated shocks such as drought that affect food production, and improve the health of some of the country’s most vulnerable communities
“Our approach will build on lessons learned from previous successful USAID interventions such as the Feed the Future Nigeria Livelihoods Activity, which ended after five years in 2018.
“Partner communities under that activity saw a remarkable 22 percent drop in child stunting, in no small measure due to a 53 percent increase in exclusive breastfeeding among mothers of newborns.
“With the support of the Livelihoods Activity, communities developed trust, forged alliances, allocated more resources, and tracked results that indicated clearly what works well and what does not in linking agribusiness to increased household incomes.
“We are particularly proud of the activity’s success in empowering rural women to demonstrate that with significantly increased household
“They play an important role in the labor market and channel new earnings back into the health and well-being of their families.
“I’m very happy to announce today that a diverse group of stakeholders are kicking off this ambitious plan with a running start,” She said.