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UNDP Moves To Boost Investment In Nigeria’s Agric, Health Sectors

To attract more investors into Nigeria’s agricultural, energy and health sectors, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has launched a Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Investor Maps to boost its initiative.

This is happening as a research and strategic communications consulting firm, SBM Intel, has revealed that about 47 percent of farmers in the country have no access to post-harvest storage facilities.

This was contained in a research documentation titled “Nigerians just want to eat: Analysis of Farmers and Food Transporters challenges likely to impede National Food Security”.

According to the firm, this inadequacy could lead to post-harvest losses for the farmers, who they also noted, may not be able to arrest the situation by acquiring their storage facilities. The report read: “In our survey, almost half (47%) of the farmers interviewed had no access to any kind of storage facilities.

“The lack of storage facilities contributes to post-harvest losses which could get as high as 60% for tubers, fruits and vegetables.”

SBM also revealed the situation had forced a lot of farmers to sell their produce to others with warehouses.

Soaring food prices, among other factors, had led to a projection of acute food crisis, from various key players.

To this end, the report suggested more proactive short and long-term measures to prevent such occurrences.

According to the report, border opening and adoption of Climate-Smart agriculture could help prevent food shortages across the country.

“In the immediate, the government must fully reopen land borders and end the ban on using forex to import staple crops.

“After placing maize on the list of items no longer eligible for foreign exchange only on 14 July 2020, the President announced the release of 30,000 tons of maize from emergency reserves on 2 September, and also approved four firms for the importation of 200,000 tons of maize.

“This could replicate itself for items like rice and cassava in the coming months, items which millions of Nigerians depend on for sustenance.

“For the longer term, wider adoption of irrigation, facilitating the provision of early maturing and drought-resistant crop varieties and a switch to climate-smart agriculture is the best way to guard against crop failure and poor yields”, the report read in part.

SDG Investor Maps is, however, a country-specific digital tool that provides market intelligence on investment opportunities and is backed by relevant data to identify and increase SDG-aligned actionable investments in Nigeria.

UNDP’s Representative in Nigeria, Mohammed Yahya, says the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development advocates private sector investment in achieving the SDGs has made the launch of the platform necessary.

At the launch, companies were paired with investors in each sector to address challenges and build innovative solutions to them.

Yahya further noted that the newly-launched platform is aimed at driving investors into target sectors as a strategy for achieving the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Finance, Budget and National Planning Minister, Zainab Ahmed, has commended the initiative, noting that the project will help to ensure turnaround for investors in the country.

According to her, this kind of innovation which is targeted at boosting private investment in Nigeria is critical to achieving the country’s sustainable development agenda.

She explained, “We must foster collaboration at the national and regional levels between government, civil societies, the private sector and international development and financial institution partners.

“This is especially true given the challenging fiscal space and increasingly low domestic revenues post-COVID 19.

“Tools such as the SDG Investor Maps, therefore, ensure that investors are empowered with accurate, country-specific information regarding investment opportunity areas.”

The SDG Investor Maps piloted in Brazil in 2019. As of May 2020, reports suggested there were ongoing efforts to replicate same in Armenia, Colombia, China, Ghana, India, Jordan, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Turkey and Uganda.

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