US and Nigeria launch GFSS Country Plan to improve food security
The Federal Government of Nigeria and the US Government have formally launched a Feed The Future (FTF) Global Food Security Strategy (GFSS) Country Plan for Nigeria. The launch and signing of a Declaration of Partnership took place during an official ceremony at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja on 18 July.
Following welcome remarks by the Director, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Food For Peace, Trey Hicks, US Charge d’Affaires, Ms Kathleen FitzGibbon, delivered a keynote address on the objectives of the GFSS Country Plan. “This plan will connect farmers with suppliers, improve agricultural extension services and inputs, and stimulate market growth to present new opportunities for millions of households to improve their standard of living and quality of life,” she said.
The Nigerian Government representative, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Mr Ernest A. Umakhihe, expressed the belief of the Government that this initiative will reduce hunger, malnutrition, and poverty among the Nigerian people.
The GFSS goal and objectives for Nigeria are in line with the USAID/Nigeria Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS) development objectives of “Broadened and inclusive growth” and “Healthier, more educated population in targeted states”. The GFSS aims to reduce global hunger, malnutrition, and poverty with a sustainable approach. The Nigeria Country Plan investments will address the challenges and obstacles limiting the optimal performance of the agricultural, health, and nutrition sectors in the country.
The ceremony culminated in the signing of the Declaration of Partnership by Umakhihe and FitzGibbon.
IITA, a long-time USAID partner, is aligning with the objectives of the GFSS to help implement the five-year policy project in Nigeria. Deputy Director General, Partnerships for Delivery, Dr Kenton Dashiell and Director of Advocacy and Country Alignment Function (ACAF), Dr Kwesi Atta-Krah represented the Institute at the Launch.
The event also featured a USAID-organized exhibition for private sector vendors to their products. IITA’s exhibition stand highlighted biofortified products such as pro-vitamin A cassava and maize that address nutrition deficiencies, technologies for production, confectionary, and knowledge management products. The IITA stand recorded visits from dignitaries such as FitzGibbon, the Governor of Kebbi State, His Excellency, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, deputy governors, and Permanent Secretaries of the Federal Government of Nigeria. They were treated to a taste of the displayed confectionary and commended IITA for all their achievements over the years.