Sandra Ukele. 
With a view of ending hunger by 2030 five state governors in Nigeria have endorsed an advisory mechanism to enable them monitor the implementation of their state-grown agricultural plans.
The peer advisory mechanism is a brainchild of the Nigeria Zero Hunger Forum (NZHF) that is aimed at reviewing, monitoring, and advising states in Nigeria on the ways and means by which they can achieve zero hunger by 2030.
The five pilot states which have given their endorsements include Benue, Borno, Ebonyi, Ogun and Sokoto states.
According to the former President of Nigeria Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who also doubles as the goodwill ambassador of  International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), “More states will be involved as we make progress.
who is chairing the NZHF.

According to a communique issued at the end of the maiden edition of the NZHF holding in Makurdi, members of the NZHF which cut across the private sector, government and development partners have agreed to hold its advisory meetings on quarterly basis across the states.
The Forum also adopted a template for its future advisory meetings:
The first day should be dedicated to a welcome address by the state followed by presentations of what is going on in the host state related to achieving zero hunger. This would include tackling the challenges, successes, and lessons derived.
The following day, should be dedicated to field visits to engage with large, medium, and small scale farmer groups; medium and large scale agriculture related industries such as food and feed processors, and fertilizer blending factories. Also, programs to improve the health and nutrition of infants and children would be highlighted. The day would end with reflections of the day and a communique concluded.
Dr Kenton Dashiell, the Deputy Director General for Partnerships for Delivery IITA, who also manages the secretariat of the NZHF, explained that the peer advisory mechanism of the NZHF would encourage states to keep focus to the commitment they made towards agriculture so they could by themselves achieve their set targets.
He commended the maiden meeting held in Benue state, noting that the state has the capacity to feed the whole nation if its agricultural potential was fully tapped.
The Governor of Benue State, Dr Samuel Ortom, described the Nigeria Zero Hunger Forum (NZHF) as a tool that would accelerate the agricultural development of states through peer learning.  He noted that through the instrumentality of the Forum the state would purchase fertilizers in good time for distribution to farmers.
Dr. Ortom noted, “Again from the NZHF meeting, we have been given advice on how to handle certain areas and in some cases the former president personally made contacts through the phone on our behalf to persons who have the answers.”
The meeting in Benue, had in attendance Governor Ortom, Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi; Deputy Governor of Borno State, and representatives of the Governors of Ogun and Sokoto states. The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), African Development Bank (AfDB), World Food Program (WFP), the private sector, farmer groups, members of Benue State Executive Council, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), the Nigeria Army School of Military Engineering (NASME), and members of the press.
The NZHF is supported by IITA, African Development Bank (AfDB), WFP and the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL).

Photo Caption:
International Institute for Tropical Agriculture.


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