The FAO Country Office in Nigeria on Tuesday said it would from 2014 to 2017 focus on five strategic objectives anchored on the agency’s Global Corporate Strategic Framework.
The FAO Country Representative, Ms Louise Setshwaelo, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the objectives were contained in the FAO Country Programming Framework for Nigeria developed in 2012.
Setshwaelo said that the first objective was contributing to the eradication of hunger, food security and malnutrition.
“Nigeria is actually one of the countries recognised for reducing the proportion of people suffering from hunger, which is the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 1.
“But we should not at the same time lose sight of the fact that even though at the national level we have managed to reach MDG 1, we still have in the country in some of the areas like the Northern Sahel states, we still have high levels of chronic malnutrition there.
“We still have high levels of acute malnutrition particularly in the under-fives to an extent that some development partners are working there to address the acute malnutrition in children.“
The FAO representative explained the essence of the first objective was to support the country to increase agricultural productivity and also put in place the strategies and policies that would facilitate the attainment of the objective.
According to her, such support will also enable the government and partners, including the private sector participants, to be able to support that objective of reducing hunger and poverty in the country.
The FAO representative said that the second objective entailed providing the enabling environment to ensure that the way natural resources were used did not lead to a degradation of the environment.
“This strategic objective is mainly looking at the way we use natural resources.
“How do we support countries to provide an enabling environment such that even though we want to increase agricultural productivity, it should be at a sustainable manner.
“We should not at the same time also be increasing degradation of the natural resources that we depend on particularly for agricultural production in improving food security.
“In this respect, we are also looking at the issue of climate change, the issues of governance in terms of access to these productive resources, issues of women, issues of access to land, issues of governance.
“When we look at the way we are exploiting our forests, are the governance structures which provide the regulatory framework in place.
“It they are in place, the implementation itself, the regulations, are they being observed? Are they being enforced?“
She noted for instance that in exploiting forest resources, a lot of illegal logging was happening, stressing that this could not be sustained.
“We cannot sustain that because we need these forests not only for economic livelihood but also their contribution in terms of mitigating the impact of climate change and carbon sequestration,’’ she said.
The others objectives are increasing and improving the provision of goods and services from agriculture, forestry, and fisheries in a sustainable manner and the reduction of rural poverty.
The agency will also focus on enabling more inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems at local, national and international levels as well as increasing the resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises.
On rural poverty reduction, she said this would entail formulating a coherent policy embedded in a broader strategy for sustainable development.
She also said that it would involve strengthening rural institutions and ensuring that economic growth translated into increased decent farm and non-farm rural employment opportunities for men, women and youths.
Meanwhile, NAN reports that the 28th session of the FAO Regional Conference on Africa will hold in Tunis from March 24 to March 28, with the theme “African Youth in Agriculture and Rural Development’’.
The conference is expected to bring together ministers of agriculture and senior government officials from FAO member countries in the region.
According to the statement issued in Rome and made available to NAN in Abuja on Monday, the conference will also attract members of civil society groups and their partners.
The meeting, being organised by the FAO in collaboration with the Government of Tunisia, will feature a Ministerial Roundtable and Youth and Development of Aquaculture and Livestock in Africa as side events.
The statement said that the delegates would discuss issues relating to current state and perspectives of food and agriculture in Africa, including African youth in the food sector and rural development, and the state of food and agriculture in the region.
The conference will also include the implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) with special focus on small farmers and family farming.