FG committed to revamping food systems to ensure a nourished population – Osinbajo
The Federal Government has stated its commitment to revamp the nation’s food systems as a means of ensuring a healthy and nourished population, and also lift Nigerians out of poverty.
Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo disclosed in Abuja on Tuesday at the National Consolidatory Dialogue, for the UN Food Systems Summit that defining a robust food system would also address the problem of poverty.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the abuja summit is organized to consolidate the finding and recommendations from the over 30 separate food systems summit held across Nigeria.
Declaring the consolidatory summit open, Osinbajo disclosed that addressing hunger and food insecurity was core to the policy position of the current administration.
While stressing that it was imperative for the nation to define clear and achievable objectives on food systems revamp, he assured that the government was committed to the goals.
“It is now up to us from here on to own the process and translate the recommendations of these dialogues to prompt action. This would mean embracing the challenges required for modernization, farming practices where mechanization is absolutely important.
“We must ensure that we practice environmentally sustainable production and must empower communities by creating jobs and livelihoods to sustain the food systems that we desire.
“For the government of Nigeria, our commitment to sustainable food systems is one of the key strategies for eliminating poverty across Nigeria.
“We know that our target of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within the decade is achievable only if we focus on substantially improving agriculture and food systems.
“This perspective of addressing hunger, nutrition and poverty runs through all our policy frameworks, including the recently launched National Poverty Reduction Programme,” he said.
He stressed that it was very clear that a prolific and sustainable food system is critical to our nation’s human capital development.
Osinbajo, therefore, hinted that the nation’s food system must be resilient to significantly impact nutrition security and the collective effort to reduce our collective effort must reduce malnutrition.
“We must realize that defining bold steps to improve food systems and by extension food security, ensures that children have improved health and early development and increased intellectual and emotional resilience to learn.
“This translates to positive school engagements and improved the potential of children growing healthier.
“On the other hand, imagine a generation of adult who suffered arrested physical and mental development and the social and economic burden on the families, on the communities and the nation.
“Imagine the implication of approximately, 50 per cent of Nigeria’s population being at risk if we do not get it right,” he stressed.
Giving insight into the findings from the dialogues, Prof. Kola Anigo, the lead consultant for the food systems dialogue, painted a bleak situation of nutrition in Nigeria.
He said that only 11 per cent of children between the ages of six and 21 get the minimum acceptable diet requirement in Nigeria.
He pointed out that the deficit results in stunted growth, impaired brain development and is the leading cause of death in children.
The consultant stated that 53 per cent of deaths in children under five is directly or indirectly linked to malnutrition.
Based on the findings, he said that four in every 10 Nigerian children is malnourished, with some stated recording as high as seven in every 10 children being malnourished.
He, therefore, called on Nigeria to adopt a holistic pathway to transform the food system while calling on the international community to continually provide support.
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