Niger State Governor, Farmer Mohammed Umaru Bago has advocated the need for the Federal Ministries of Agriculture and Health as well as State Governments to invest massively in the provision of stable crops, fingerlings, and animal husbandry to fight poverty and malnutrition in the country.

Farmer Governor Umaru Bago stated this when he spoke as one of the panelists at the “Dialogue” aimed at addressing malnutrition surge in Northern Nigeria, put together by Athena Centre for Policy and Leadership, held in Abuja.

He said Agriculture should not be limited to cropping but be broadened to cover other aspects to explore the value chain needed to address poverty and malnutrition, especially in the Northern Region.

The farmer Governor said it is pertinent for the relevant Ministries to partner all the State to squarely address malnutrition, adding that Niger State is already generating data through the Primary Health Care centres towards tackling the challenge.

He also revealed that his administration has diversified the economy of the State by improving agricultural production to a mechanised level to feed the State and the Country in general.

The farmer Governor said the State Government is in partnership with several investors for the production of nutritious food that have value chain.

He used the forum to also remind the Federal Government that it has cleared one million hectares of land in the State and is strategically positioned to contribute to the strategic crop reserve of the Nation.

The coordinating Professor, Muhammad Ali Pate, who also doubles as the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, disclosed that the Federal Government is expanding production of food to address challenges associated with malnourishment among other things.

He said the Federal Government has mobilised 1.3 million doses of multiple micro nutrient supplements to save pregnant women and also made ready $30 million UNICEF Children’s nutrition Fund for the purchase of therapeutic foods to be channelled to 1,200 primary healthcare centres across the Country.

In their separate remarks, the Governors of Zamfara and Katsina States as well as the Deputy Governor of Kebbi State, Dauda Lawal, Dikko Umar Radda and Abubakar Tafida respectively, decried how insecurity has negatively affected food production

They, however, expressed optimism that the new policies they are introducing would check the trend of malnutrition in their States.

The Director, Food and Nutrition, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Fatima Sugra Mahmud who represented the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Abubakar Kyari highlighted some environmental challenges that are responsible for the surge in malnutrition.

She then revealed several plans of collaboration with State Governments which include the provision of improved seedlings to farmers towards addressing the situation.

The Chancellor, Athena Centre of Policy and Leadership, Chief Osita Chidoka, described as worrisome the statistics of malnutrition in the Country, pointing out that the event was key in finding lasting solutions.

He said going by the commitment from the Governors present at the event, the desired result would be achieved.

Highpoint of the event was the presentation of honour award to farmer Governor Umaru Bago and other panelists.

Bologi Ibrahim.
Chief Press Secretary
to the Governor of Niger State

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