• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Ukraine donates 25,000 tons of wheat to tackle Nigeria’s hunger crisis

The Ukrainian government has donated 25,000 tons of wheat grain to Nigeria, a gesture aimed at alleviating the hunger crisis in the country.

This donation, gifted through the World Food Programme (WFP) seeks to support 1.3 million vulnerable Nigerians grappling with the aftermath of conflicts in the North East and North West regions.

Furthermore, this act of compassion is part of Ukraine’s humanitarian initiative, ‘Grain from Ukraine,’ spearheaded by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The official handover ceremony took place in Abuja, with David Stevenson, the WFP’s country director, expressing gratitude for the timely assistance.

Stevenson emphasized the significance of this donation, stating, “This wheat from Ukraine could not have come at a better time.” The vulnerable populations have been grappling with soaring food prices, hindering their access to essential staples over the past three months.

Lifeline for Nigerians

Wheat is the third most consumed grain in Nigeria, driven by its rapidly growing population of 213.4 million. The Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture projected a demand for 6.06 million tons of wheat in 2022-23, with Nigeria expected to produce 160,000 tons while importing 6.5 million tons.

In this regard, Stevenson underscored the comprehensive approach the WFP would adopt, combining the donated wheat with cash and other commodities to meet the basic food and nutrition needs of crisis-affected individuals in the North East for a two-month period.

Valerii Vasyliev, Ukrainian Ambassador to Nigeria, shed light on the challenges faced by Ukraine due to the Russia-Ukraine war, disrupting supply chains and impeding previous attempts to provide food assistance.

“Despite these challenges, international collaboration enabled Ukraine to ship 170,000 tonnes of wheat grains to Asia and Africa since the launch of the “Grain from Ukraine” initiative,” Vasyliev stated.

Notably, the combined efforts of Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Luxembourg, Norway, Republic of Korea, Sweden, and the United Kingdom facilitated the transportation of the wheat from Ukraine to Nigeria, ensuring its distribution to families in need.

Driving food security

In a parallel effort to bolster food security, Jigawa state governor Umar Namadi announced plans to cultivate 150,000 hectares of wheat during the 2024 dry season farming. Governor Namadi, commending President Tinubu for agricultural intervention programs, laid emphasis on the importance of agriculture in poverty alleviation. “The only way to move people out of poverty is through the development of agriculture,” he said.

A delegation from the African Development Bank (AfDB) lauded Jigawa State’s commitment to agriculture and pledged support in areas such as irrigated land, farmer demonstrations, financing, and opportunities for youth development. The bank’s initiatives aim to bolster regional development and foster collaboration for a more resilient and sustainable future.

Martings Fregnen, leading the AfDB delegation, affirmed the bank’s support for agricultural development in Jigawa state. The collaborative efforts between the state government and key stakeholders promise a brighter future for agriculture and food security in Nigeria.

Fregnen said, “The National Agricultural Development Scheme will be supported in the areas of irrigated land, demonstration to the farmers, financing, and providing opportunities for the young people for the development of the region.” This collaboration aligns with the bank’s broader mission to foster sustainable agricultural practices and economic growth within the region.

As Nigeria navigates through its hunger crisis, the collective actions of nations and local initiatives offer a ray of hope for millions striving for a better tomorrow. In the face of adversity, solidarity and cooperation emerge as guiding beacons towards a world free from hunger.

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