THE Head of Mission, Republic of South Africa in Nigeria, Mr Lulu Louis Mnguni, has said that Nigeria and South Africa are determined to intensify partnership in agriculture to address challenges of poverty, hunger and unemployment.
Speaking at the third convocation lecture of the Landmark University, Omu-Aran, Kwara State on Thursday, themed,”Sustainable Agricultural Development through Agricultural Value Chains- The African Imperative, Mr Mnguni said that agriculture remained only way to address to add values to socio economic development of the two nations.
“Agriculture is a major tool to address hunger, poverty and joblessness and that is the reason the two nations have taken agriculture as main priority to improve socio-economic lives of their people and move the nations forward,” he said.
The South African envoy, who lauded the present administration of President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, the immediate past president of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, and President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria for taking agriculture as a serious programme, said that the development had continued to provide job opportunities and create wealth in the two nations.
Mr Mnguni said that infrastructure development of the two partnering nations would be enhanced to ease transportation of farm produce to intended market for sustainability and growth of agricultural value chains of the two nations.
He said that Nigeria government had been working with people of South Africa since the days of Apartheid, adding that the relationship would continue as part of efforts to improve economy of the two nations.
In the convocation lecture at the event, a South Africa agricultural activist, Dr Brylyne Chistunge canvassed for a community-managed farming as a value chain agricultural practice with potential to reduce poverty in Africa.
Dr Chistunge said that communities played a major role in agriculture through support for each other.
Dr Chitsunge, who said that community-managed farming, particularly in rural areas, would directly strengthen community level action, added that smallholder farmers in such communities would be able to produce high quality, locally grown organic products.
She also said that community agriculture could provide a comprehensive approach to reducing carbon footprint, cut costs of buying highly priced imported food, enables locals to buy fresh organic produce directly from the farmer, stimulates local economic activities through social enterprise and protects local environmental resources and land.
“Community farming can have a positive impact on a country’s economy, which can include pulling its citizens out of poverty. By promoting through targeted education and awareness programmes, there’s no doubt that the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality can best be addressed by Africans taking ownership of their future using agriculture as a bridge,” she said.