IFAD Associate Vice President official mission to Nigeria strengthens cooperation between Nigeria and UN

The Associate Vice President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Rome, Dr. Donal Brown, was on an official mission to Nigeria organized in partnership with the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari. The mission which was from 11-16 March, 2024 deepened the partnership between the Federal Government of Nigeria and IFAD in support of government efforts aimed at food system transformation for food and nutrition security, improved livelihoods of smallholder farmers and inclusive agro-industrialization.

Dr Brown met key officials and partners, including Vice President of Nigeria H.E Senator Kashim Shettima, Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, Honourable Minister of State Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, Honourable Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, Executive Governor of Enugu, Dr. Peter Mbah and Executive Governor of Benue State, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, Development Partners, farmers and private sector.

Dr Brown also   undertook a field visit to Enugu where he exchanged with the H.E the Executive Governor of Enugu, Dr. Peter Mbah and engaged with small-scale farmers in rural community of Nenwe in Aninri local government area supported by IFAD funded Value Chain Development project. The field visit confirmed the positive impact on the ground of the cooperation between Federal Government of Nigeria and IFAD. It also highlighted the strong commitment of the Enugu State Government to inclusive smallholder farmers centered agri-food systems. The visit also recognized the ownership of the VCDP initiatives by communities and helped to identify pathways to enhance the results of cooperation.

Since 1985, IFAD’s Cooperation with the FGN helped financed 12 projects for a total of $ 1.5 billion, including $ 546.59 million from IFAD’s own resources, directly benefitting nearly 3,912,180 million Nigerian rural households. Nigeria has the largest portfolio in West and Central Africa and the second largest in all of Africa. IFAD has been Nigeria’s trusted partner for reducing rural poverty and continues to partner with the Nigerian Government in developing agricultural value chains, establishing community-driven development initiatives, developing profitable smallholder agri-businesses, building rural institutions, and pursuing financial inclusion for rural poor households.

Speaking during a high-level meeting with the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen, Abubakar Kyari, in Abuja, Dr Brown said Nigeria is a key partner of the UN organization, adding that he was in the country to assess existing IFAD projects and areas of further collaboration.

“Nigeria is one of our strongest partners and part of my mission is to try to strengthen and deepen that partnership. Not only is my mission to strengthen our relationship but secondly is to look at the future direction of support that IFAD can provide the government,” the IFAD Vice President said.

In his remarks at the high-level meeting, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen Kyari, expressed gratitude to IFAD for massive food security support and due diligence in the existing operations of FGN/IFAD Portfolio.

“The smooth implementation of the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise – Niger Delta (LIFE-ND), Value Chain Development Program (VCDP) Additional Financing (AF) and Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone (SAPZ) Program underscores the unique quality of our strategic partnership”.

The IFAD Vice President participated in a portfolio review of IFAD/FGN cooperation programme and provided guidance on strategic matters for scaling up the impact of the partnership. He also attended the Nigeria-IFAD Cooperation Open House and Exhibition fair alongside the Honourable Minister of State Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi. They took a tour of the exhibition of products of various value chains by IFAD funded projects. About 100 farmers from 15 states exhibited their agricultural products including processed foods.

The IFAD Vice President and the Honourable Minister of State Agriculture and Food Security co-chaired a gender dialogue with the 2024 International Women’s Day theme “Investing in Women: Accelerate Progress” to dialogue with 100 small scale farmers and processors. This activity was also done in collaboration with UN Women Representative Dr Beatrice Eyong, World Food Program and UNHCR with technical support of Dr. Priscilla Achakpa, International Gender and Cxlimate Change Expert. This dialogue with farmers concluded on the urgent need to scale-up investment in women in agriculture especially considering the current food and nutrition security crisis. The dialogue also resulted in several strategic recommendations that will be shared with the government, development partners, farmers organizations, private sector partners, civil society organizations and media in the coming weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to discussion with the Resident Coordinator of the UN, Dr Mohamed Fall, Dr Brown hosted a round table with the multilateral development partners to share insights for their respective efforts in support of government agri-food systems priorities and to identify strategies to enhance synergies and results in the context of food crisis while taking into account the critical need to pursue in-depth transformation of food systems for a sustainable resolution of food and nutrition. He shared the global joint action plan between IFAD and WFP on fragile situations and called for continuing to strengthen the collaboration among development partners.

At the close of this IFAD high-level mission, Dr. Donal Brown had an audience with His Excellency, Vice President of Nigeria H.E Senator Kashim Shettima who indicated that the Federal Government of Nigeria highly appreciates the quality of cooperation with IFAD and will take the necessary actions to maximize the benefit of this cooperation in addition to the food systems transformation agenda including the priorities of food and nutrition security crisis that the government is currently managing. Dr. Donal Brown reiterated his deep gratitude to the government for the successful organization of the mission and the commitment to optimize the collaboration for greater efficiency and impact.

The official delegation included Dr. Yaya O. Olaniran, Nigeria’s IFAD Executive Board Member and Permanent Representative to the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome and Dr. Bernard Hien, Regional Director, West and Central Africa (WCA) Division and Dede EKOUE, Country Director IFAD Nigeria.

 

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