By Felicia Imohimi
Abuja, Oct.16, 2020 In commemoration of the World Food Day, the Agricultural Agenda Initiative (AANI) an NGO, has launched “Outgrow Hunger, Nigeria” campaign to address food crisis in the country.
Mr Ephraim Audu, Founder/President of the organisation said the campaign was to take action to address food crisis and find lasting solutions to it.
The World Food Day is commemorated annually on Oct.16 and the theme: “Grow, nourish, sustain, together. Our actions are our future”.
“If our food systems are not transformed, undernourishment and malnutrition will greatly increase by 2050 and this can increase more if there is further deterioration in income inequality, employment or basic access to services,” he said.
Audu called on the bottom to top stakeholders collaboration to create safety country for the children and the unborn generation.
Audu said the campaign was a call for global cooperation and solidarity to ensure that the threats posed by COVID-19 to food security and agricultural livelihoods were confronted to ensure that the most vulnerable were able to get back on their feet.
“It is also an occasion to sensitise the public on how everybody has a role to play in transforming our food systems by changing the way we produce, transform, consume and waste our food
“It is evident that since 2014, a steady increase in hunger has emerged following a decade of progress, clearly indicates the need to accelerate and scale up actions to strengthen the resilience and adaptive capacity of food systems and people’s livelihoods.
“According to the 2020 Global Food Crisis report, 135 million people across 55 countries and territories experience acute food insecurity and require urgent food, nutrition and livelihoods assistance.
“The global population is expected to reach almost 10 billion by 2050, which will significantly increase the demand for food.
“Approximately 14 per cent of food produced for human consumption is lost each year before reaching the wholesale market.
“Over three billion people in the world lack access to internet and most of them live in rural and remote areas.
“Smallholders farmers need greater access to finance, training, innovation and technology to improve their livelihoods,” he said.
Audu called on relevant stakeholders’ collaboration, adding that there was need to build effective social protection responses and policies to ensure safe conditions and decent incomes for smallholder farmers, food chain workers and adopt measures that would avoid food price validity.
“It is fundamental that stakeholders across board treat food production, transport, marketing and distribution as essential services that must be sustained.
“There is a need to be strategic policy coordination between health, agriculture and social protection.
“This will mean establishing policy measures and legal frameworks that support sustainable food systems which include nutrition, decent employment and soil protection.
“It will also require a greater use of climate-smart and environmentally-friendly agricultural practices that incorporates innovation and digitisation to show the habitat destruction that contributes to disease outbreak.
“Therefore the international community needs to close the digital gap and ensure that technology flows to developing countries.
“Policy decisions geared toward transformative change must be based on data, scientific evidence and analysis.”
Audu, who noted that most private businesses had been severely strained by COVID-19 pandemic disruptions however emphasised the need to invest in sustainable, resilience food systems with decent employment and develop, adapt and share technologies that transform food systems.
Audu said this year’s World Food Day celebration marked the 75th anniversary of the FAO being the founder, adding that there was need to build the future together.
“This year is marked during exceptional experiences as countries are dealing with the widespread effects of COVID-19 pandemic,’’ Audu said.