Greene: US Has Invested $200m in Nigeria’s Food Security in Last 5 Years

Greene: US Has Invested $200m in Nigeria’s Food Security in Last 5 Years

David Greene, the US Acting Ambassador to Nigeria, recently stated that the United States government has invested $200 million in food security in Nigeria in the last five years.

The US government also said another $150 million was given as grants to 33 private sector companies in Nigeria.

He made the revelation at the 2024-2029 Global Food Security Strategy Launch.

He also revealed that another $22 million, has been invested in Nigeria’s cocoa value chain, spanning across seven states.

The implementation of the Global Food Security Strategy for Nigeria, is expected to boost agriculture productivity and drive agriculture-led economic growth over the next five years.

The envoy however said despite the support of the US government, Nigerians are best placed to solve the issues that affect them.

“The U.S. government is providing broad assistance across Nigeria to support agriculture development. As Melissa mentioned, USAID invested almost $200 million in agriculture for the last five years to improve food security and build household resilience to shocks in Adamawa, Benue, Borno, Cross-River, Delta, Ebonyi, Gombe, Kaduna, Kebbi, Niger, and Yobe states.

“We also provided modest grants to 33 private-sector companies to leverage over $150 million in private-sector development, generated $306 million in domestic sales, and created over 23,000 jobs.”

“USAID is one of many U.S. government agencies promoting agricultural development in Nigeria. For example, this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture inaugurated a $22 million, five-year investment in Nigeria’s cocoa value chain, spanning across seven states.

“The investment improves rural livelihoods by building capacity in cocoa productivity, trade capacity, and traceability.”

He lamented that “Nigeria is currently experiencing a severe food crisis due to insecurity, inflation, currency devaluation, the increased cost of inputs, trade restrictions, climate change, and post-harvest loss.

“In January 2024, Nigeria recorded an over thirty-five (35) percent increase in food prices, making it difficult for the 84 million Nigerians living below the poverty line to buy food. If we project out into the future, global food demand will double by 2050, and yet at the same time key staple crops are showing a decrease of up to 30 percent.

“Furthermore, while climate change is causing extreme weather conditions like drought and floods, it is even more challenging for smallholder farmers to increase yields and incomes.” Ranked the sixth least prepared globally to confront climate change, Nigeria must focus on adaptation if food security is to be achieved.”

The envoy also noted that US and Nigeria are engaged in exchange programmes and fellowship which aimed at equiping Nigerians, adding that: “In the last two years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has also sponsored more than a dozen scientific exchange fellows to study at U.S. agricultural universities and 30 private sector stakeholders to visit the United States, all so they can come back to improve Nigeria’s crop production, animal breeding, efficient pesticide use, and trade capacity. “

He cited the case of one Agada Blessing, a Ph.D. student from the Joshua Sarwuan Tarka University in Benue State, a soil scientist that USAID supported to attend Michigan State University and develop her research on climate change and fertilizer use.

He said Blessing returned to Nigeria, and has been sharing her research work and organized training programme on the importance of soil management for agricultural productivity, trained graduate students and government staff on soil management for maize production across Benue State, and used her research to support the development of the first-ever state-level climate change policy in Kebbi and Ebonyi States.

He noted that: “Nigeria is a country of immense talent and potential. The potential to drive agriculture-led economic growth is endless. While the U.S. government and other partners are here to support Nigeria, Nigerians are best placed to solve the issues that affect them.

“However, for ideas to grow and drive economic development, the Nigerian government must create an enabling environment that supports private sector-led growth and entrepreneurship. U.S. companies and other U.S. private sector stakeholders are eager to help Nigeria improve agricultural productivity, trade, and food security. However, clear and transparent tax and investment rules are needed for meaningful growth.

“Food must be available to buy, and prices must be affordable for all Nigerians. The Nigerian government should embrace the adoption of genetically modified crops to boost the productivity and income of smallholder farmers while removing trade restrictions, including food and agricultural import bans. Competition and free trade fosters creativity and efficiency.

“Helping Nigerians to put food on the table can go a long way in rebuilding the reputation of the Nigerian government in the eyes of Nigerians.”

USAID Nigeria Deputy Mission Director, Sara Werth said Nigeria, like many nations, is grappling with the growing challenge of food insecurity.

She said Nigeria’s diverse ecological zones and vibrant young populace holds the key to a bountiful future, “But to unlock this potential, we must join hands. From government to private enterprise, to academia and the tireless efforts of civil society, let’s work together to end forge a path towards food security.”