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FAO, ActionAid raise the alarm over food insecurity in Nigeria

By Joke Falaju and Tina Abeku (Abuja)
18 June 2021   |   2:58 am
Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has raised the alarm over the worsening state of food security in the country.

Experts move to end malnutrition

Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has raised the alarm over the worsening state of food security in the country.

It stressed the need for urgent measures to protect the most vulnerable, keep the national agricultural supply chains functional and efficient, and mitigate the food security impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

FAO country representative, Fred Kafero, who spoke at the ongoing 44th meeting of the National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development (NCARD), said the theme of the meeting, ‘Nigeria’s Agriculture and Food Security in the Face of COVID-19, Floods and Insecurity’, is a call to action, to cushion threats to the livelihood of a large section of the population.

According to him, the March-April 2021 Cadre Harmonisé (CH) food security analysis conducted in 16 states and the FCT projected that a total of 12.83 million people in the affected states would be in crisis levels.

Also, the ActionAid Country Director Ene Obi, also raised concern over the inability of women to go to farms for fear of being raped. She said, being major producers of food in the country, it is important for the government to fast track efforts at curtailing the spate of insecurity.

She decried low budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector despite the fact that Nigeria is a signatory to the Maputo Declaration on the allocation of a minimum of 10 per cent to the sector.

Also, experts on food, nutrition and health, have identified the inclusion of micronutrients in more commonly consumed foods as the key to ending malnutrition in the country.

At a National Fortification Dialogue, to discuss viable options to scaling up nutrition through food fortification ahead of this year’s United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS), yesterday, in Abuja, they said fortification is a major strategy against malnutrition.

Country Director of Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and convener of the meeting, Mr. Michael Ojo, noted that the development and advent of food fortification is a major game-changer in food-based innovations.