By Daniel Tyokua
The Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, has started moves to curb food insecurity and boost food production in the nation’s capital.
FCTA Permanent Secretary, Mr Olusade Adesola said through the expertise of the Administration’s Agric Extension Agents, it has been able to train over 5,000 farmers on good practices that can enhance the quantity and quality of farm produce.
He stated this on Wednesday, during the 8th Regular Meeting of the FCT Council on Agriculture and Rural Development in Abuja.
The permanent secretary explained that the Administration was keen on implementing more programmes that would address areas of critical needs of small holders farmers and explore viable investment opportunities.
He revealed that the food security assessment survey conducted in all the 62 Wards in the terriory showed that about 15 per cent of residents are food insecure.
Adesola stated that the situation was unacceptable considering the fact that the FCT was endowed with rich and vast arable land and water resources that could be harnessed towards improving the livelihood of the citizenry.
He 8th Agric council meeting with the theme, ‘Evolving Enduring Strategies towards commercialisation of Agriculture for Economic Empowerment to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 pandemic and promote sustainable food security’ was put together by ARDS.
Adesola disclosed that the FCTA’s commitment was in line with the Agriculture promotion policy of the present led Federal Government, considering the cases of insecurity in rural areas where farming takes place.
The permanent secretary who was represented at the event by a Director in his office, said the FCT has over the years been grappling with the issue of daily influx of people from other parts of the country in search of greener pasture.
He stated that, “the situation has posed serious challenge for the Administration not only in terms of meeting the needs of the various groups, but also put a lot of pressure on the lean resources of government”
According to him, the FCT Administration has in so many ways provided support to farmers in area of capacity building.
“The Administration is working in Collaboration with World Food Programme, WFP, Area Council Authorities and key stakeholders to ensure food security”
Earlier, Mr Ibe Chukwuemeka, the acting Secretary of FCT Agriculture and Rural Develoment Secretariat, assured that the secretariat would continue to work hard with relevant stakeholders towards repositioning the agricultural sector.
He said that the choice of the theme of the council meeting was in line with the present global realities and challenges of food security occasioned by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
He said the the council would do its best to thoroughly look into all the issues towards making impactful recommendation to the FCT Administration.
The participants were drawn from the six Area Councils of the territory to interact and share ideas on how to move the agriculture sector forward in the FCT.