Participants at the just-concluded workshop, organised by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), have identified technology transfer, capacity building and finance as areas of support for Nigeria in its efforts to attain the SDGs.
They identified the areas in a communique issued at the end of the workshop with a theme: “Mainstreaming Food Security in the Context of 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda in Nigeria’’, held in Abuja.
The participants said that the management of data, information and performance was, however, needed to support the country’s implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while underscoring the need for accountability.
They also said that it was also necessary to track the SDGs implementation processes, both at national and sub-national levels.
The workshop’s participants called for a strong support in mobilising adequate financial and other resources — from domestic sources and through “the traditional North -South, South- South and triangular cooperation partnerships’’.
They identified the challenges facing Nigeria food security as over-reliance on the oil and gas sector; dwindling agricultural production and productivity as well as limited value addition to agricultural produce, among others.
They, however, attributed the dwindling agricultural productivity to the negative impacts of climate change, desertification, natural and man-made disasters, unresponsive land tenure as well as the low utilisation of mechanised farming.
They noted that infrastructural deficits and technological gaps had hindered the provision of services and the application of science, technology and innovations in many spheres of life.
Besides, participants urged the Federal Government to upscale its “Home-Grown School Feeding Programme’’ to provide a meal a day to at least six million primary school pupils, while supporting the agriculture sector to produce adequate food.
They also underscored the need for the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) to provide regular financial aid for traders, market women and women cooperatives, artisans and Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) as well as enterprising youths, farmers and agricultural workers.
Mr Ahmed Matane, Assistant FAO Country Representative (Programme) for Nigeria, said that food security could only exist when people, at all times, had physical, social and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious foods which satisfied their dietary needs and food preferences.
He said that in supporting Nigeria’s efforts to achieve food security, FAO was assisting the country to monitor its implementation of the SDGs programme.
Matane said that the organisation had also developed various methods and standards for food agriculture and statistics, while providing technical assistance to help the country to meet its monitoring obligations.
“FAO is also developing a comprehensive Monitoring and Evaluation Strategy, taking into cognizance SDG 2 and the associated indicators.
“It is strengthening existing food security programmes’ monitoring initiatives in the National Programme on Food Security (NPFS) via capacity building and funding support to fill the identified gaps and expand their coverage to all the states for a seamless flow into the SDGs
“There is adequate collaboration between Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and other ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), including UN agencies and NGOs in the monitoring and evaluation of the SDGs in Nigeria,’’ he said.
Part of the mandate of NPFS was to improve household food security, incomes and reduce poverty through increased agricultural productivity.
A source at NPFS bemoaned the low capacity of the personnel at the state level and the high cost of conducting studies or surveys to generate relevant data required for analysis, saying that this was a major drawback.
He said that for the programme to be successful, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development should urgently develop a comprehensive Monitoring and Evaluation Strategy, after taking into cognizance SDG 2 and the associated indicators.
The source said that the strategy should aim at strengthening existing monitoring initiatives in the NPFS via capacity building and funding support, in order to fill the identified gaps and expand the coverage of the initiatives to all the states for a seamless flow into the SDGs.
Participants at the FAO workshop were drawn from the states in the North Central geo-political zone, the FCT as well as relevant federal MDAs and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)
It could be recalled that 193 member states of the United Nations (UN) adopted the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, comprising 17 SDGs, with 169 targets and 230 indicators on September 25, 2015.
The 2030 agenda aims at tackling the complex challenges facing the world; ending poverty, hunger and malnutrition as well as sustainably managing the natural resources of the planet.