By Joy Okosieme
Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has been announced as the chairperson of the National Project Steering and Deployment Committee (NPSDC) for innovative strengthening of smallholder farmers capabilities in Nigeria.
The committee’s mandate includes strengthening smallholder farmers’ capabilities towards productive land restoration amid COVID-19 in Nigeria, according to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor Rafiu Ajakaye.
It seeks to build resilient communities and ensuring food security, the statement added.
The setting up of the committee comes amid the growing stature of AbdulRazaq owing largely to his commitments to issues of sustainable development goals (SDGs) such as education, health, gender equality, climate action, and eradication of poverty, sustainable agriculture and food security, among others.
AbdulRazaq’s level of commitment to support the project had prompted early release of funds by the AUDA-NEPAD Continental Office to AUDA-NEPAD Nigeria for implementation of the project.
The committee was set up as part of the national strategy to drive growth and accelerate implementation of innovative projects to improve smallholder farmers’ capabilities in accordance with the National Development Plan of Nigeria. It would also ensure the application of multi-sectoral approach for the deployment of innovative land restoration and energy access to accelerate food security, renewable energy access, land restoration, socio economic impacts, climate resilience, create jobs, and improve the standard of living and human wellbeing.
The steering committee comprises the subnational governments of Nasarawa, Yobe, Bauchi, Kano, Kebbi, Ebonyi, Imo, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Ekiti, and Ondo.
The Committee, which is to lead the national implementation of the Africa Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) initiatives on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also comprises federal government agencies like the Ministries of Education, Power, Environment, Budget and National Planning, and Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority.
Other members include the Nigerian Farmers Association, Nigerian Women in Agriculture, Youth Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture, Central Bank of Nigeria, Development Bank of Nigeria, Bank of Agriculture, Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing Systems for Agricultural Lending, and the Dangote Group.
The mandate of the committee is to provide strategic leadership and policy orientation of the AUDA-NEPAD approach and projects in Nigeria, and to oversee progress of the project implementation, review and approval of result based periodic reports of the projects.
It will also provide coordination and facilitation of knowledge generation and sharing across institutions and sectors; ensure project implementation achieve its intended results to the beneficiaries; operate across public, private and civil society and in various sectors, and across the nation; mobilise partnership and alliance within the country to ensure coherence and coordination; fulfil an oversight function by receiving and reviewing technical progress and financial reports from the project implementation unit in the states and regions of domestication within the country.
It will also facilitate the implementation process through members providing access to their institution’s support, networks and channels of influence for the AUDA-NEPAD project; encourage and facilitate cooperation and open lines of communication between its members and other related stakeholders; and facilitate and support the development of relationships with a diverse range of stakeholders, private sector, public sector, civil society (including relevant NGO’s) and academia resulting in their interest in mobilisation and support of the projects.