The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Northern Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) to improve upon food security in the region.

The initiative that is under the Food and Security Resilience Programme is dubbed: “Feeding the future” involves the disbursement of more than 60 million dollars to the region and is aimed at improving productivity of smallholder farmers.

It is expected to benefit about 367,000 people, including women and children in 12 districts in the region.

Mr Paul Weisenfield, Assistant Administrator of Food Security of USAID, said these at the signing of the MOU.

He initialed for USAID while Mr Moses Bukari Mabgengba, Northern Regional Minister, signed for the RCC.

Mr Weisenfield said the programme, which would cover a five-year period, was aimed at transforming the lives of farmers by increasing their income levels through the value chain, and also improving upon the nutritional status of pregnant women and children.

He said USAID would build the capacity of the RCC and the district assemblies to enable them to use resources judiciously to effectively implement the programme.

Madam Cheryl L. Anderson, Country Director of USAID, said the organization was now shifting its attention to improving food security, with particular emphasis on the cultivation of rice, maize and soya beans, which were the main stables of people in the northern part of the country.

Mr Magbengba, commended USAID and and other development partners for helping in stabilizing the country’s economy.

He expressed the hope that with the current initiative, the region would not only be food sufficient but also become a bread basket for the rest of the country.

He noted food insecurity was a threat to peace and democracy in Africa and said USAID’s intervention was aimed at promoting peace and democracy on the continent.

Mr Yakubu Stephen, Northern Regional Deputy Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, said the unavailability of warehouses to store foodstuffs during bumper harvest was impeding the realization of food security.

He appealed to USAID and other development partners to assist in the building of more silos at major food producing areas.

GNA

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