By: Wisdom Acka
FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani-Aliyu, has inaugurated two committees to help boost agricultural development in the Territory.
The committes are the Steering and Inter-Agency Technical Committee of the Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes (ACReSAL), and the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) Projects in the Federal Capital Territory.
Performing the exerxise, the Minister expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the partnership on the projects, which would go a long way in bringing about the promise of leaving behind a legacy that would chart the course for sustainable economic development in Nigeria.
Tijjani-Aliyu disclosed that the first of the projects was the Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes (ACReSAL), which was facilitated by the World Bank to help northern part of Nigeria and the FCT to address critical challenges of regional desertification control and land scape management.
Her words: “The Project aligns with the goal of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to set out broader landscape restoration of 4 million hectares of degraded land, and the promise of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030”.
She stressed that the implementation would take place in the six Area Councils of the FCT, particularly in the rural communities, and would carter for the farmers and farm groups, the women and youth with their groups.
On the other hand, the Minister of State noted that the concept of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones programme (SAPZ), which is co-financed by the African Development Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), aims at mobilizing private sector entities to develop value chains for selected strategic crops and livestock in the participating states.
Tijjani-Aliyu said the programme would significantly drive the modernization of the FCT agricultural sector, reduce food imports, enhance value addition in livestock value chain, staple food crops and create new economic zones of wealth and jobs creation in rural areas.
The Minister of State revealed that the steering committee of the projects are the apex decision-making bodies for the operation of the projects in FCT and has the responsibilities of providing guidance and taking decisions on the recommendations forwarded by the State Technical Committee and StateProject Management Unit (SPMU)
Also speaking at the occasion, Secretary, Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Abubakar Ibrahim, said that several states across the federation have already keyed into the programmes and today’s inauguration marks the official take-off of the programmes in the nation’s capital.
Ibrahim stated that the project’s aim at addressing environmental challenges as well as reinvigorating the livestock sector to enhance sustainable agricultural production and improved food and nutrition security.
He, however, assured that in view of the huge expectations on the projects, membership of the two committees were carefully drawn from relevant Secretariat’s Departments and Agencies (SDA’S) of the FCT Administration.
Responding on behalf of members of the committee, the FCTA Permanent Secretary, Mr. Olusade Adesola, noted that the implementation of these two projects in the FCT could not have come at a better time than now when the capital city is in dire need of the implementation of innovative programmes that have the capacity to rapidly guarantee the attainment of food and nutrition security and improve the quality of lives of the growing population of the FCT.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that the issues of climate change and global hunger are interwoven, and experts have warned that unless urgent and necessary measures are taken, nations face immense threat of global food crisis”.
He assured the Minister of State that members of the committees would put in their best to ensure that the objectives of the projects are realised.