By Friday Idachaba
Lokoja – The Kogi Government says it has started the process of domesticating the Federal Government’s Agriculture Sector Food Security and Nutrition Strategy (ASFSN) to promote nutrition-sensitive agricultural practices in the state.
The Commissioner of Agriculture, Mr Kehinde Oloruntoba, said this at a workshop which Synergos Nigeria organised for critical stakeholders to facilitate the domestication of the national agriculture strategy in Lokoja.
He stressed that the state government would strive hard to ensure the early domestication of the strategy so as to guarantee the food security of the state.
Oloruntoba also said that the state had adopted the home-grown school feeding policy to provide balanced diets for pupils, while increasing their mental capacity and mitigating stunted growth among them.
Speaking, Mr Victor Adejoh, Synergos Nigeria Field Manager for Kogi, Benue and Kaduna States said that the workshop was organised in collaboration with State Partnership for Agriculture (SPA) to boost the domestication of the strategy via participatory approach.
He said that the strategy document would help to guide the participants to look at key priority areas to ensure food security in the state and help them to plan for nutrition-sensitive agriculture in its annual budgets.
“We are looking at the key priority areas set up by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), where the policy is domiciled, to see possible areas of alignment to enable the state to evolve her own strategy.
“At the end of the workshop, we hope that we would have instituted a process of ensuring input to the domestication strategy with the key stakeholders from ministries of agriculture, health, women affairs and FMARD.
“It is a strategy that integrates other ministries,’’ he added.
Also speaking, Dr Funmi Akinyele, Synergos Nutrition Consultant, said that the strategy was created and launched in May by FMARD.
“We are now trying to get each state to look at the policy, the strategic priorities and identify the easiest entry points,’’ he added.
Akinyele said that domesticating the policy had became imperative because most of the smallholder farmers, who grew over 65 per cent of the food needs of the country’s population, hardly ate well and were malnourished.
“Yes, they grow the food; yet, most of them are malnourished because they sell most of the food they grow for money. They sell the good ones and eat the bad ones and they, therefore, cannot get sufficient nutrients.
“Nutrition and food security are so important to reduce the rate of malnutrition; increase agricultural production, and boost the income of small-scale farmers.
“They will also enhance Nigeria’s economic growth and therefore, improve the health and well-being of its citizens,’’ she added. (NAN)