Achieving food security through strategic partnership with women: Aisha Buhari example

June 20, 2022  4 min read

Mrs Aisha Buhari

Mrs Aisha Buhari

By Ahmed Ubandoma

Unarguably, women cannot be ignored in the quest to ensure food security, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. According to the United Nations, women represent 50 per cent of agricultural labour force in Sub-Saharan Africa.

It was as a result of this undeniable fact, that the Nigeria’s First Lady, Aisha Buhari and President Africa First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM), has sustained her commitment to support women in agriculture.

Recently, Aisha Buhari sent a delegation to the Republic of Kazakhstan to participation in a high-level forum on Food Security, organised by the Islamic Organisation for Food Security (IOFS) and Kazakhstan National Agrarian Research University.

Participants were drawn from different member-states of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC), including ministers, opinion leaders and experts in agro-industrial sector.

The Nigeria`s delegation was led by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs and Strategy, Office of First Lady, Mr Sani Zorro.

In his presentation, Zorro enumerated the achievements of the Aisha Buhari Foundation (ABF), in supporting women and children, especially in the areas of health, education and nutritional needs of malnourished communities in Nigeria.

Zorro also listed ABF`s interventions in addressing cases associated with gender-based violence, promotion of adolescence health and nutrition needs, girl-child education, among others.

He explained that the interventions were executed through strategic collaboration between the ABF and other development partners.

While in Kazakhstan, the Nigerian delegation held  strategic meetings with the Islamic Organisation for Food Security (IOFS), Ombudsman for Children`s Rights in Kazakhstan, Institute of World Economics and Politics (IWEP), Nur-Sultan Foundation.

Other were Hassad Food Qatar, Attyab International Services, Arab Authority as well as GIS Space Services, among others.

The organisers of the high-level forum, the Islamic Organisation for Food Security (IOFS) had earlier, indicated interest to partner the first lady`s foundation to provide technical support for women in Agriculture, especially rural women.

The IOFS Director-General, Prof. Yerlan Baidaulet, said that the partnership would require building technical capacities of rural women for a more productive engagement in agriculture.

The D-G said that the IOFS had a lot in common with the ABF in terms of operational convergence for rural farming.

“The two organisations have a lot in common, especially in the areas of developing technical capacity for female farmers and rural farming.

“ I am sure there are big opportunities in this kind of project, especially in the rural areas for developing technical capacity for rural farmers, especially female farmers, so, I think we have a lot of things to do by cooperating with the first lady`s foundation.

“ We have to work because today, we are witnessing a lot of inequalities, a lot of social problems, I think those who are giving this kind of opportunity to partner the first lady`s foundation will join efforts and do something tangible for the good of the people,” he said.

Baidaulet, commended the ABF for its commitment to tackle social problems, support humanity and make the society a better place.

On his part, the representative of the first lady, Mr Zorro, expressed optimism that the partnership would be mutually beneficial.

He said that the ABF had been visibly proactive in providing healthcare, education and economic empowerment services to the vulnerable in the society.

”The foundation is willing to collaborate with reputable organisations around the world to deepen its support for humanity,” he said.

During one of the sessions, the first lady, advocated for increased stakeholders engagements in promoting peace-building among farming communities to ensure sustainable food security in the Afreican continent.

The first lady emphasised the need to join forces to address the devastating impact of climate change, especially as it affects women and children as well as food production.

She said concerted effort must be made by relevant authorities to stem the conflicts between farming communities and herdsmen.

According to her, the situation threatens food production in most farming communities.  She said government of Nigeria had invested huge resources to curtail the situation and to guarantee safety to the farming communities.

“Efforts are being made to address the situation in most affected areas of Africa, especially from humanitarian organisation.

“Efforts from my office and my foundation, the Aisha Buhari Foundation have continued to support women, youths and children who are mostly affected by the challenges affecting our environment.

“ I am excited by the efforts aimed at partnering the Islamic Organisation for Food Security in our commitment to achieving food security, especially through food security and nutrition.

“ As President of AFLPM, sometime last month, I have the opportunity to address the General Assembly Summit of African Union Heads of States and Government as a reliable partner in promoting peace in the continent.

“ We are committed to using the network of AFLPM to influence the teachings of peace and security education in primary, secondary and territory schools in the continent, ” she said.

Aisha Buhari also informed the gathering that her foundation had partnered the Federal Ministry of Health to promote traditional medicinal herbs through the utilisation of genetic plants.

“ This is a segment of our agriculture which large number of our local population depend on for the treatment of their ailments, food supplements and cosmetics.

According to her, out of 10,000 species of medicinal plants in Nigeria, only 20 per cent are utilised.

In addition, my office has resolved to work with the Nigerian parliament to accelerate the passage of the Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (TCAM) Council Bill into law.

She reiterated her determination to support women and children, especially women in agriculture for sustainable food security in the continent.

Undoubtedly, the high-level forum which had representatives from over 20-member countries of IOC, formed a dynamic stand for multi-stakeholders’ dialogue to explore ways of ensuring food security, boost innovations and sharing of challenges associated with food security and nutrition across the globe. (NANFeatures)

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