FG, UN, seek holistic approach to ensuring food security

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By Fortune Abang

The Federal Government and the United Nations have called for a holistic approach to achieving sustainable food chain in Nigeria.

The call was made at the Pre-food systems stock-taking moments media engagement on Wednesday in Abuja.

The event was jointly organised by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (FMFBNP), and the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC).

Permanent-Secretary of FMFBNP, Mr Nebeolisa Anako, in an address described food system as the most complicated stomach infrastructure with issues.

He said a food system entailed complex networks that include input and output of food production processes and consumption.

According to him, food system is also about the food value chain.

Anako said, “This is because the food produced through farming needed to pass through some stages before it goes to the stomach.

“The food system problem has been on transportation of food from the farm, getting the seedlings to plant, to the time we plant.

“Down to the table to managing the waste; our effort is to reduce hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.

“When you lack food you cannot leave nutrition aside of food, it is about eating healthy food that will give human capita and healthy population.

“We want to drastically reduce food importation and promote sustainable food trade as a country and we are getting there, this is a project that concerns all of us.”

Also Speaking, Mr Ernest Umakhihe, Permanent-Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), said the call became important for stakeholders in Africa to ensure food security.

Umakhihe who was represented by Mrs Sugrah Mahmood, Director in-charge of Nutrition and Food Safety in the ministry, spoke on: “Ensuring sustainable food system in Nigeria, challenges and prospects.”

Umakhihe said,  “As we are all aware, our country is facing severe crisis in line with the recent declaration on state of emergency on food security and water by President Bola Tinubu.

“The declaration demands our utmost intention and collective efforts to address the perceived challenges, and explore the prospects of sustainable food security in Nigeria.

“Nigeria is blessed with vast agricultural resources, yet we grapple with persistent food insecurity, malnutrition and hunger.

“The challenges we face are multifaceted, but by identifying and addressing these issues we can pave the way for a most sustainable food future.”

In his remark, the Director of UNIC, Ronald Kayanja, who spoke on: “Expectations on Food System Stock-taking Moments” commended Nigeria’s efforts toward ensuring food security.

He described Nigeria as a very important country in the world and Africa.

According to him, it is the biggest country in the continent, in terms of population.

He said it was in everybody’s interest to have a vibrant Nigeria and agriculture is the core of the economy.

“Everybody in Nigeria needs to mobilise to ensure food security after the president’s declaration of emergency in the food sector.

“The progress and success in Nigeria is immeasurable on what can be done, but there are challenges that must be tackled, irrespective of the land size,” Kayanja said.

Highpoint of the event was overview of Nigeria’s implementation and preparation for stock-taking moment, remarks by UN bodies, as well as questions and answer sessions. (NAN)