First conference of the Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project

On Sept. 27-28, the Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project held its first conference at the Rockview Hotel Royale in Abuja.

October 17, 2016

On Sept. 27-28, the Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project held its first conference at the Rockview Hotel Royale in Abuja. The event attracted more than 130 participants from all over Nigeria and officially launched the Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project. It brought stakeholders together to interact around the theme - “Promoting Agricultural Policy in Nigeria: Challenges and Opportunities.”

In attendance was the Honorable Minister of Agriculture (Chief Audu Innocent Ogbeh), senior officials from United States Agency for International Development (USAID), senior advisors and representatives from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), State government representatives, development partners, academia, NGO’s, private sector and the civil society.

The Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project is a five-year, $12.5 million initiative funded by USAID and led by Michigan State University (MSU) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). The project addresses the need for policy research and capacity building in the Nigerian agricultural sector, and strives to ensure that Nigerian institutions are equipped to respond effectively and in a timely manner to the increasing capacity, knowledge and information needs of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD).

The Honorable Minister of Agriculture officially launched the project and inaugurated its six-member National Advisory Committee. The advisory committee members are Prof. Olu Ajakaiye (Executive Chairman, African Center for Shared Development Capacity Building), Alhaji Abba Auchan (former Director of the Quality of Control Unit of the Federal Fertilizer Department, Ministry of Agriculture), Dr. Aminu Ibrahim (Convener, Nigerian ICT Forum of Higher Education Institutions, Ms. Lizzy N. Igbine (National President, Nigerian Women Agro Allied Farmers Association), Dr. Andrew Kwasari (Senior Technical Adviser to the Hon. Minister of Agriculture) and Prof. Placid Njoku (former President, Nigerian Institute of Animal Science)).

The Honorable Minister of Agriculture in his keynote speech referred to the need to prioritize agricultural policy in Nigeria. He said: “Spread the good news, for all of you, the time to grow food is here and the ministry will do everything it can to give you support.”

Mr. Michael T. Harvey, USAID/Nigeria Mission Director, also delivered remarks in the opening plenary session, stating: “The United States Government supports President Buhari's focus on reinvigorating Nigeria's agricultural sector. President Obama's Feed the Future Initiative is designed to support governments around the world who are seeking to spark a second green revolution and feed a hungry world … However, it is now up to all of us to add urgency to that agenda.”

Goodwill speeches were delivered by Dr. Titus Awokuse (chairperson, Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, MSU) on behalf of MSU and Dr. Paul Dorosh (IFPRI Director of the Development Strategy & Governance Division) on behalf of IFPRI. An overview of the project was given by Dr. Saweda Liverpool-Tasie (MSU & principal investigator of the project) and Dr. George Mavrotas (IFPRI & Chief of Party of the project).

An IFPRI book on the “Nigerian Rice Economy: Policy options for transforming production, marketing and trade” (published by Pennsylvania University Press in August 2016, as part of IFPRI’s Nigeria Strategy Support Program) was launched by the Minister, followed by a plenary session focusing on key findings and policy recommendations emanating from this important publication.

Two dozen paper presentations and six poster presentations were made on various relevant policy topics including youth employment, livestock and aquaculture, land governance issues, climate change, technology adoption, and other cross-cutting issues. These were the best papers selected (following a rigorous review process) from a wide Call for Papers and in connection with the conference theme.

Other plenaries were organized focusing on capacity building for agricultural research and on policy research for Nigerian agriculture. The conference concluded with a plenary focused on effective stakeholder engagement for improved policy processes in Nigeria.  The panelists (representing private sector, government, academia and civil society) included the Rivers State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mrs. Onimim Briggs Jacks, Prof. Gbolagade Ayoola of Farm and Infrastructure Foundation and Prof. J. P. Alawa of Rivers State University of Science and Technology. For more about the conference, visit:  http://bit.ly/2dJ7Mig

PHOTO CAPTION: 

From Left to Right: Dr. Saweda Liverpool-Tasie, principal investigator of the Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project, Michigan State University; Dr. Titus Awokuse, chair, Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics, Michigan State University; Mr. Michael T. Harvey, USAID mission director; Chief Audu Innocent Ogbeh, Honorable Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development; Dr. Paul Dorosh, Director of the Development Strategy and Governance Division, IFPRI; and Dr. George Mavrotas, Chief Of Party of the Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project and Head of IFPRI Abuja Office.

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