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Director General  José Graziano da Silva

Talks on the link between peace and food security

Meeting with Nigeria’s Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development

19 February 2016, Rome – Ongoing conflicts in the Sahel region leave millions of vulnerable people facing hunger and malnutrition, FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva told Nigeria’s Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development Audu Ogbeh at a meeting in Rome.

Graziano da Silva congratulated the new government, appointed last November after months of painstaking negotiations, and commended their efforts to stabilize the region. He also highlighted their will to provide vulnerable populations with support for relief, and strengthen their resilience. “The relationship with FAO is excellent and we are looking forward to reinforced collaboration,” Minister Ogbeh said.

The FAO chief acknowledged the key role Nigeria plays as the food basket for the Sahel as well as during periods of shortages in the area. West Africa’s largest country can help rally the region to transform African agriculture as well as reduce poverty, especially in the rural areas, he said.

Increased production and productivity

The Minister mentioned the new strategies the Nigerian government is developing for the agriculture sector to achieve increased production and productivity. Given the youth of the Nigerian population, the new government planned to increase their involvement in agriculture through the use of innovative technologies to allow them to run agribusinesses.

FAO has supported Nigeria’s Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme (YEAP) initiative.  The initiative was created to develop 750 000 young commercial farmers and agri-business entrepreneurs for the country.

The Director-General invited the Minister to join the 29th session of FAO Regional Conference for Africa that will take place from 4 to 8 April 2016.