• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Experts call for collaboration to tackle food insecurity

Experts in agribusiness have called for collaboration to tackle rising food insecurity and issues limiting farmers productivity.

The agripreneurs who made the call during the AgriConnect 2024 Summit themed: ‘Bridging the Divide: Fostering Collaboration and Innovation for a Sustainable Agriculture Future’ held recently in Lagos, said food insecurity in Nigeria can be tackled when both private and government agric stakeholders come together.

Ruth Abisola, Lagos State Commissioner of Agriculture, said for the country to improve its food production, there has to be more collaboration between private and government organisations.

Read also: BOI unveils palliative programme to tackle food insecurity

“Every single agency needs to have a representative and possibly a one-stop table where everything is done and this is where we will need collaboration,” Abisola said during a panelist discussion at the summit.

She emphasised the need for private agribusiness owners to form partnerships with the federal government, noting that the agricultural sector can achieve more with the combined efforts of both bodies.

Abisola reiterated the efforts of the Lagos State government in tackling rising food inflation, saying that the state government was building partnerships with other stakeholders in the private sector.

“We launched a cold shopping solution for the red meat initiative and this was in partnership with the private sector to tackle unhygienic handling of red meat in Lagos,” she added.

However, she also said there have been hurdles to building a successful partnership with other private organisations in the country, especially from the government side.

Concurring with the words of Abisola, Adebowale Akande, director of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), said the research institute was like the Lagos government, building partnerships with other private agribusiness to see that the agric sector grows.

Akande said collaboration holds the key to Nigeria’s worsening food crisis, drawing examples from his work at the IITA where the research body now engages other private agribusinesses and uses technology to further enhance agricultural research.

He noted that due to a lack of willingness to collaborate with the private sector, the country has lost partnerships in the past. However, he said the essence of the summit is to change that narrative while forging a new course for the agricultural sector.

Read also: Understanding food insecurity in Nigeria

Akande committed to a partnership relationship with the Lagos government, saying that the state can leverage arable lands available in Oyo as a solution to tackle insufficient food production.

Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria and owner of one of Nigeria’s largest farms, Obasanjo Farms, who was the chairman of the summit also called for collaboration between the private and government agric sectors.

Obasanjo said innovation in agriculture is key to human survival and development. He called for more collaboration in the sector as a means to tackle challenges confronting Nigerian agriculture.

Also present at the Summit was Bosun Tijani, minister of Communication, Innovation & Digital Economy, who said, “We need partnership. There is more room for collaboration. We cannot keep waiting for the government.”

The AgriConnect 2024 Summit organised in partnership with Obasanjo Farms, brought together key stakeholders in Nigeria’s agricultural sector – technology providers, financial institutions, food industry leaders, and government representatives – to tackle the challenges faced by small and large-scale farmers.

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