Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, has said that the hand-in-hand initiative of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations on data collection for proper planning aligns with the objective of the country’s upcoming geo-spatial system of siting capital projects for effective monitoring and evaluation by the ministry.
Agba stated this when he received in his office on Friday a team from the FAO, led by the Country’s Representative, Mr Fred Kafeero.
Kafeero had informed the minister of FAO’s #HandinHand initiative which would make data more accessible for planning, saying that Nigeria was one of the twenty countries that had already signed up to it.
The minister said in response to the team that Nigeria placed emphasis on data collection.
According to him, “We are also placing a lot of emphasis on data collection for planning to be effectively done. In this light, we are prioritizing funding for the National Bureau of Statistics, which before now was dependent on donour funding.”
He said he also saw a lot of synergy between the FAO and the ministry’s geo-spatial system that was being developed under GRID 3, which is being coordinated by the Department of Monitoring and Evaluation in the ministry.
The deployment of geo-spatial system in locating infrastructure facilities helps to indicate where best to situate schools, hospitals, and other social facilities across the country.
He saud he looked forward to deepening the partnership between the ministry and the FAO especially in the area of agriculture.
According to him, “As a practising farmer, I believe agric should be the mainstay of any economy as it provides food to the citizens and raw materials that feed other industries.
“It is also a high priority for this government as demonstrated in Mr President’s desire for us to eat what we produce and produce what we eat.”
He suggested that farmers should be encouraged to take on more mechanized methods of farming while prioritizing the reduction of post-harvest losses.
He said the concern should not be more on increasing acreages, but on reducing pist-harvest losses.
He said that the movement of farm produce should be made more efficient, adding that government was working on improving the road infrastructure along our agro corridors.
According to him, “We have an opportunity of changing this narrative as we develop the successor plans to the ERGP-the Medium Terms National Development Plans 2021-2025 & 2026-2030 and Nigeria Agenda 2050 which is our perspective plan.”
He said that FAO’s expertise in the agriculture and food security thematic area of plans’ development would be needed.