BY EMEKA EJERE
An estimated 9.2 million Nigerians from 16 states and the Federal Capital Territory face food insecurity, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation Representative in Nigeria, Fred Kafeero, has said
Kafeero, who also said the current food system in the country needed re-evaluation, spoke during a webinar organised by the Federal Government and United Nations for journalists on ‘Nigeria national food systems dialogue’ on Tuesday.
Part of the aim of the webinar was to lay the foundation for series of dialogues across the country to chart pathways towards ensuring resilient, inclusive and sustainable food systems in Nigeria by 2030.
“As of October 2020, an estimated 9.2 million Nigerians from 16 states and the FCT were food insecure,” he said, adding that the food security situation would likely worsen in 2021 due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kafeero emphasised the need for the government, food producers and processors, traders, donors and other partners to work together in evaluating current food system and making it improved and sustainable.
Speaking on access to safe and nutritious food for all, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, noted that the minimally acceptable diet in Nigeria remained poor, adding that a food system preventing all forms of malnutrition was required.
He highlighted important steps to take as subsidies for healthy and sustainable foods and taxes on unhealthy foods, nutrition education in schools, social behavior changes campaigns and others.
In his presentation on boosting nature-positive production, the United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative, Mohamed Yahya, said the country was facing unprecedented constraints in food production, severely impacting the environment.
The representative of Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Musibau Azeez, said good food systems resulted in developed food industries, expansion of off-farm employment opportunities, widening of food choices, among others.
The UN Resident Coordinator, Edward Kallon, noted that the UN and the FG were bringing together key players for the summit to hold in September, which he said would launch new actions to transform the way the world produced and consumed food.
He emphasised the importance of sustainable food systems, to not only end hunger, but also help future generations have access to adequate food and proper nutrition.