The federal government is seeking the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to invest in the agricultural sector of the country and help reduce the food crisis.
The Vice President, Kashim Shettima, stated this on Wednesday during a meeting with a delegation from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation led by the President of its Global Growth & Opportunity Division, Mr. Rodger Voorhies, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to Shettima, the country requires a strategic partnership to accelerate the process of agricultural productivity in the country as well as promote food security.
Currently, Nigeria’s food inflation is the highest inflationary rate in the country, standing at a staggering 31.52% according to the recent release of the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Similarly, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) projected that 26.5 million Nigerians would face hunger in the next year.
Speaking on the development, the Vice President noted that the government is investing significantly in agricultural produce; however, it also requires the partnership of others to accelerate the process.
“We are investing heavily in agricultural innovation and best agricultural practices to enhance productivity.
“However, we need the expertise and resources of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate our progress.
“If a nation is not independent in food production, it remains a dependent nation. So, I am soliciting your partnership and attention. Join us in our drive towards combating poverty and hunger in sub-Saharan Africa as you did in Southeast Asia,” Shettima said.
On his part, Mr. Voorhies said his team’s objective is to enhance existing collaborations with Nigeria while also exploring opportunities for new partnerships with the new administration, especially in priority sectors.
He lauded the Tinubu administration’s agenda on food security and healthcare delivery while acknowledging the VP’s leadership and commitment to nutrition and agricultural transformation.
He assured the foundation’s commitment and readiness to support efforts aimed at achieving set goals and objectives.