(L-R (6th)Permanent Secretary,  Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, Alh. Isiaq Olokooba, Director of Planning, Alh. Surajudeen Alimi, Commissioner for Planning, Alh. Aliyu Sabi, Monitoring Lead, Dr Fausat Kolawole, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Planning, Dr Yaqub Jaja and other members of the FSTP Committee in the State.)

The Kwara State Government has again reiterated its commitment to the success of the Food System Transformation Pathways (FSTP) programme, a project of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to ensure food security and sufficiency in Nigeria.

The Kwara State Commissioner for Planning, Alh. Aliyu Sabi stated this while receiving the monitoring team of the project, who were in the State to ascertain its readiness at domesticating the national programme to ensure food sufficiency for citizens.

Hon. Sabi, who noted that adequate investment in the food supply chain was necessary to prevent famine and boost the economy of the country, assured the Committee of the State Government's commitment to the success of Kwara in the highly competitive programme. 

Earlier in his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Planning, Dr. Yaqub Jaja, who is the Chairman coordinating the North Central Zone of the FSTP programme, explained that the major goal of the project was to introduce "operation feed yourself" in Nigeria through the encouragement of home stead farming, school garden and farm estates development to boost food production in the country. 

He disclosed that Kwara State came first in the recent rating by the FSTP, which was a motivation for the State Committee on FSTP to do more in partnership with all other relevant Ministries.

Dr Jaja sought the support of the State Government to ensure the ultimate success of Kwara to emerge as the best in Nigeria, adding that the three best States would receive grants and support from development partners.

Also speaking at the meeting was the Permanent Secretary of the Kwara State Ministry of Agriculture, Alh. Isiaq Olokooba, who advised all stakeholders in the food production chain to act fast to save the country from famine and its attendant consequences.

He reaffirmed the State Government's commitment to the provision of sufficient food for Kwarans through various initiatives and interventions, expressing confidence that the State would emerge as one of the best three states in Nigeria.

In her response, the leader of the monitoring team, Dr Fausat Kolawole who is an Associate Professor from the University of Ilorin, explained that the focus of the FSTP programme was to ensure cheap, affordable and quality food for Nigerians to fight malnutrition and promote their health.

She informed that the major goal of the programme is to focus on homestead farming to feed the family, school garden for school consumption and the establishment of farm estates to boost food production in the country.

Dr Kolawole noted that Kwara State was doing very well in the national rating and appreciated the effort of the committee at ensuring that Kwara gets the award to qualify for the much needed grants.

The FSTP is a project of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning in conjunction with some development partners, which is being domesticated in all the states in Nigeria. The goal of the programme is the reduction of hunger, food insecurity, malnutrition and poverty through reduction in importation and the promotion of locally produced food to support small scale agriculture.

While giving the votes of thanks, the Director of Planning Alh. Surajudeen Alimi, appreciated the Commissioner and the Permanent Secretaries for their support and urged members of the committee to ensure the success of Kwara State in the programme.

Places visited by the monitoring team included the Oke-oyi farm estate, school garden of the Kwara State School for the Handicapped, the farm of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the poultry farm of Queen Elizabeth Junior Secondary School and the homes of two homestead farmers. 

Maryam .A. Abubakar
Kwara State Min.of Communications


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