By: Chukwuka Ifunanya Judith
…hosts South East Zonal Sensitization Workshop on UN Food Systems Transformation.
The Enugu State government led by the people’s choicest leader, Rt. Hon. Dr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi through the Ministry of Budget and Planning has hosted Southeastern states on a two days (21st-22nd July,2022) Zonal Sensitization Workshop on Implementation of the UN Food systems Transformation Pathways for Nigeria at Hotel Sunshine, Enugu.
In a welcome address, the Commissioner for Enugu state Ministry of Budget and Planning, Hon. Ugwunta, David Okelue (Ph.D.), noted that the challenges of food systems cut across nations of the world. He recalled that in Nigeria, past governments have tried to proffer solution to these challenges by coming up with various programmes such as; the Regional Agricultural Programme of Nnamdi Azikiwe and Tafawa Balewa regime, Agricultural Development Project of Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Operation feed the Nation of Olusegun Obasanjo regime, the Back to Land Programme of Gen. Mohammed Buhari, the Family Support programme & Family Economic Advancement Programme of Gen. Sani Abacha, Agricultural Transformation Agenda of Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to mention but a few.
However, Dr. Ugwunta noted that the prevalent issues ravaging the food systems of the nation triggered the United Nations to come up with the idea of “The United Nations Food Systems Summit” in 2021 as a Regional Dialogue. Hence, “the sensitisation workshop is a call to the implementation of the UN Food Systems Transformation Pathways made up of five action tracts which among others include: to ensure access to safe and nutritious food for all which addresses hunger, inequality, reduction, affordability and availability of nutritious diets in our food; shift to healthy and sustainable consumption balance aimed to increase consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds production while reducing food waste at households, food service and retail levels for Nigeria”, he emphasized.
Further speaking at the workshop, Dr. Ugwunta accentuated that the Enugu State government under the leadership of Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has undauntedly taken tremendous actions to transform food systems in Enugu state. These actions include:
▪ The setting up and inauguration of the Enugu State Committee on Food and Nutrition made up of MDAs involved in nutrition and food systems under the coordination of the State Ministry of Budget and Planning on the 21st of July, 2020.
▪ The adoption of National Food and Nutrition Policy as well as the domestication of the Multi-Sectorial Strategic Plan of Action for Food and Nutrition.
▪ Hosting of the South-East regional dialogue of United Nations Food Systems Summit in Nike Lake Hotel, Enugu in April, 2021.
▪ The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) Nutrition Scorecard having recognised Gov. Ugwuanyi’s commitment to sustainable nutrition ranked Enugu State amongst the 15 states that recorded improvements in more than one commitment areas on nutrition in the 2nd quarter (April-June) 2021.
▪ Participation of Enugu State in the ongoing UNICEF Progressive Action on Resilient Systems for Nutrition through Innovation and Partnership (PARSNIP) amongst other food system interventions.
Additionally, as at December 2021, Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administration, improved on food security from 3 (three) main perspectives which include:
▪ The Agro Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project (APPEALS):Under this programme over 1,000 (One Thousand) Farm Groups have indicated interest in the Value Chain Investment Plan (VCIP) for Poultry, Rice and Cassava worth Five Billion Naira (N5, 000,000,000.00).
⮚ Mobilization of farmers/formation of Commodity Interest Groups for registration as Cooperative Societies with Enugu State Ministry of Human Capital Development have been done.
⮚ Fifty-two (52) beneficiaries in the Poultry Value Chain Investment Plan, and three (3) beneficiaries in Rice Value Chain Investment Plan with a combined worth of Three Hundred and Seventeen Million, One Hundred and Seventy-One Thousand, Five Hundred and Forty-One Naira, sixty kobo (N317,171,541.60) have been fully implemented and disbursed.
⮚ A total of One Thousand, Six Hundred and Fifteen (1615) beneficiaries have been trained in the Women and Youth Empowerment Programme (WYEP) sub component for Business Investment Plan (BIP) in Poultry, Cashew, Rice, Aquaculture, and Cassava.
⮚ CAC (Corporate Affairs Commission) registration has been processed for all the trained beneficiaries including eighty-five (85) Persons with Disability and Special Needs (PWDSN).
⮚ Out of this number, World Bank and State Executive Council approval have been obtained for the empowerment of Two Hundred and Thirty-Two (232) beneficiaries with Four Hundred and Seventy Million, Eight Hundred and Eight Nine Thousand, Seven Hundred and Fifty-One Naira (N470, 889,751.00) worth of Business Investment Plan (BIP) in the 1stBatch.
⮚ Business Investment Plan (BIP) has been developed for the remaining One Thousand, Three Hundred and Eighty-Three (1,383) beneficiaries.
⮚ Fifteen (15) Aggregation and Cottage Processing Centers are to be constructed across the 3 senatorial zones of the state.
▪ AFDB Assisted Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program Phase-1 (ATASP-1) is designed to enhance food security, rural income and employment creation through Agri-business development. This programme is achieving its purpose and also providing ancillary facilities to the host communities as follows:
⮚ Assisting the marketing of farm produce for Farmers through the construction of rice markets with stores/Aggregation centers at Adani rice market and Isu cassava market of Uzo Uwani and Isi-Uzo LGAs, respectively.
⮚ The drilling of four (4) boreholes in Ezimo Agu (Urukpa); Agu-Orba; and Obollo Afor in Udenu LGA as well as Adani Community in Uzo-Uwani LGA.
⮚ Construction of two (2) Health Clinics at Ibenda-Obollo and Asaba in Udenu and Uzo-Uwani LGAs.
⮚ Construction of Obinna Primary School, Adani in Uzo Uwani LGA; Two (2) Classroom blocks with Headmaster’s Office and toilet at Peoples Primary School Ezimo-Agu in Udenu LGA; Ngenikpa Primary School Amede in Isi Uzo LGA; Agu-Orba Primary School in Udenu LGA.
⮚ Construction of 2-span Obinna Bridge and 63km gravel-surfaced roads with 6km double surfaced feeder roads at Adani in Uzo Uwani LGA.
⮚ Construction of concrete lining of 16.45km main canal and 6km concrete lining of first Secondary canal of Adada Rice Farm.
⮚ Rehabilitation of various Hydraulic Structures at Ada Rice Farm, Adani, Uzo Uwani LGA to increase cultivation and production of rice all year round.
● International Fund for Agriculture (IFAD)/FGN Assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) in Enugu State: Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administration subscribed and paid a counterpart contribution of Ninety-One Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N91, 500,000.00) for the FGN/IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) Value Chain Development Project (VCPD) for the year 2019/2020. The programme operating in five LGAs of Enugu State has recorded the following achievements:
⮚ Aninri: One (1) Market Stall (16 stalls with Office) at Okpanku and one (1) Culvert leading to farm clusters at Oduma Achalla Community.
⮚ Enugu East: one (1) Market Stall (16 stalls with Office) at Ugwogo Nike; one (1) Water Borehole and one (1) Culvert leading to farm clusters at Ogbeke, Nike.
⮚ Isi Uzo: Ten (10) lock-up Stores at Eke Eha-Amufu Rice Market; one (1) Solar-powered Water Borehole at Mbu Cassava Market; and a Mini Bridge at Epeye Farm Road, Amede Eha Amufu.
⮚ Nkanu East: one (1) Solar Powered Water Borehole at Nkerefi Rice Market and one (1) Culvert at Anaiyi Rice Farm Road
⮚ Udenu: one (1) Solar-Powered Water Borehole and ten (10) lock-up Stores at Orie Orba Cassava Market; one (1) Ring Culvert constructed at a connecting road to Owerre-Eze Orba Cassava Farms.
Also at the event, the UN representative Agatha Nzeribe, commended the Federal government for its consistent efforts toward sustainable food systems in Nigeria, adding that the summit is an action taken from the series of dialogue done in September 2021 which was convened by the UN Secretary General Antonio Gutierrez to develop and redesign a dramatic transformation of Nigeria food systems at both national and sub-national levels. In her words, “one of the game changing strategies developed for the dramatic transformation of food systems is to achieve sustainable diets produced with equitable access and regenerate the environment”.
Speaking at the workshop, the National Convenor UN Food Systems/Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (FMFBNP) Mrs. Olusola Idowu represented by Mrs. Nelson Chito, noted that poverty, malnutrition, diseases, unemployment, violence being experienced in Nigeria are all linked to food systems. She stated that it’s imperative to bring synergy across the states in Nigeria to move into action and bring a desired change in the Nigerian Food Systems.
In a wrap up, Dr. Ugwunta called on all the stakeholders to join hands to see that the templates designed for the implementation of the national food systems transformation pathways for Nigeria are duly followed to achieve a desired result.
Some of the personalities also present at the workshop were Chairman Community of Practice, South east zone, Mrs Nnenna Chikezie, other top Government Functionaries from the Southeast states, President of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Prof. Wasiu O. Afolabi, Branch Manager Nirsal Microfinance Bank, Enugu, Civil Society Organisations led by the Founder Heroine Foundation, Mrs. Onyinye Mamah. Other participants were drawn from MDAs that have role in the food systems and nutrition such as Budget and Planning, Agriculture, Health, Gender & Women Affairs, Information, Education, Commerce & Industry and Water Resources from the ; Southeast States’of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo as well as Members of the Press.