The Federal Government said it will back plans by the UN World Food Programme (UN –WFP) to create a food hub in the country.
Zainab Ahmed, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning said this in a statement signed by Salisu Haiba, Assistant Director (Press) in the ministry on Thursday in Abuja.
Mr. Ahmed said this while responding to the presentation made by the Executive Director of UN-WFP, Ertharin Cousin, on the organisation’s plans and activities in Nigeria during a visit to her office in Abuja.
The minister said that the plan for food hub in Nigeria as presented by the UN body was a good opportunity for business in Nigeria and African region.
She said the hub would provide jobs and increase revenue for farmers in Nigeria as they will have to stock up their food stores.
In addition, she described the expansion of the Cash Based Transfer (CBT) from 160,000 to one million people by the WFP in 2016 as commendable and unprecedented.
Speaking in the same vein, the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, said that the country was working frantically to provide grains for Nigerians and other parts of Africa that have relied on the country for grains.
Mr. Ogbeh also said government was collaborating with research institutions to provide solutions to curb the challenges facing Nigerian products in the market like the toxicity of the products and poor quality.
Earlier, Ms. Cousin disclosed that WFP would establish a food hub in Lagos.
The food hub, according to her, will serve vulnerable people and communities in conflict- affected areas in Nigeria and other African nations.
The official, however, called for government’s support to scale up food production in the country and also for export to other parts of Africa, as well as improve standard of food supplements.
She also commended the WFP working relationship with Nigeria which she said, Nigeria among others, is leading in providing support to the organisation’s programme.
The UN Chief said that the organisation had assisted over one million Nigerians in conflict- affected zones in the north-east of the country.
She said that they were assisted through cash-based transfers, in-kind food assistance and specialised nutritious food distributions.
Ms. Cousin said that the organisation would scale up the assistance to 1.3 million people, expanding to new areas.