In a bid to achieve zero hunger by 2030, the Federal Government has appealed to states and local governments to invest at least five per cent of its budget to agriculture.
Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, made the appeal at a symposium to mark the 2018 World Food Day celebration in Abuja on Thursday.
Lokpobiri noted that the Federal Government required adequate commitment from various governments and stakeholders to achieve the 2030 objective.
According to him, zero hunger is do-able and achievable.
The minister noted that the Federal Government in an effort to reduce hunger had increased its budgetary allocation to the Nigeria Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), Federal Universities of Agriculture and research institutes to achieve the target.
“If we are able to achieve self-sufficiency in Nigeria, we would have solved the hunger and malnutrition problems in Africa.
“We must get the support of states and local governments to achieve zero hunger.
“If all the states invest five per cent of their budgets in agriculture, we will achieve food security.
“Every government must be involved in this food revolution,” Lokpobiri said.
Also speaking, Mr Suffyan Koroma, the Country Representative, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), said that the aim of the World Food Day was to bring stakeholders together to communicate the importance of food security, nutrition as well as sustainable and resilient agriculture.
He appealed to the government to create an investment-friendly environment and provide equal opportunities and adopt legal and non-legally binding treaties toward achieving the zero hunger objective.
“The private sector should commit to the elimination of food waste, source raw materials locally and be resource efficient.
“Be champions for food safety, promote social inclusion and women.
“Farmers and smallholders should promote gender equality and manage natural resources sustainably and efficiently,” Koroma said.
In a lecture, Prof. Ernest Aiyedun, the Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Abuja, called for policy interventions that would strengthen commodity value chains.
Aiyedun said that promoting efficient marketing system through infrastructural and institutional development.
Another guest lecturer, Prof. Johnson Onyibe, the National Agricultural Extension Research and Liaison Services (NAERLS), Zaria, called for the establishment of an Agriculture Trust Fund (ATF).
He said the fund would help in developing the agriculture sector adding that adequate planning monitoring and evaluation should be adopted to use the fund.
The Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Mrs Ene Obi, expressed regret over the increasing decline of extension services in the country.
“As we are thinking of zero hunger, we should remember our agriculture extension workers,” she said.