Sahara Group urges global private sector collaboration to boost food security

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By Solomon Asowata

Lagos, Oct. 20, 2020 Energy conglomerate, Sahara Group, has canvassed increased private sector collaboration toward optimising food value chains to address global undernourishment.

Mrs Pearl Uzokwe, Sahara Group’s Director of Governance and Sustainability, made the call in a statement on Tuesday in Lagos.

Uzokwe said global undernourishment prevalence stands at 687.8 million (8.9 per cent of global population), according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) 2020 report on the state of food security and nutrition in the world.

She said the FAO report also recorded the prevalence of severe food insecurity at 746.0 million, which translates to 9.7 per cent of global population.

According to her, further review of the report shows that sub-Saharan Africa alone has severe food insecurity prevalence of 227.5 million, which is 21.3 per cent of African population.

Uzokwe said the report cited undernourishment as a measure of the insufficiency of an individual’s food consumption to provide the amount of dietary energy required to maintain a normal, active and healthy life.

She noted that food insecurity refers to limited access to food at the level of individuals or households due to lack of money or other resources.

Uzokwe said collaboration among regional and global businesses would increase investments in sustainable food and agricultural projects and create avenues for better engagement with governments and global development agencies.

She said the requirement for global healthy diet cost estimated at $3.75/person/day and $3.84/person/day makes achieving nutritious food for all a herculean task given that the cost of a healthy diet exceeds the international poverty line of $1.90 purchasing power parity (PPP) per person per day.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how much progress we can all make when businesses toe the path of collaboration.

“Addressing food security across the globe is a quest that requires urgent attention to ensure that no individual is left behind.

“Sahara Group is already witnessing how effective multi-stakeholder cooperation can be with the ongoing implementation of the Food Africa Project,” she said.

According to Uzokwe, increased investment will help to address low levels of productivity, high production risks, insufficient diversification toward more nutritious foods and lack of physical access to food markets.

She noted that collaboration would also facilitate the emergence of vibrant trade policies that will give traction to food production, improve food safety and quality standards.

“We will ultimately move the world toward robust food value chains that will enhance food storage, road infrastructure, and food preservation capacity where heart breaking losses exist for highly perishable foods,” Uzokwe added.

She said the Food Africa Project was a collaborative initiative between Sahara Group, United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals-Fund (SDG-F), Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

Uzokwe said others are the International Labour Organisation (ILO), International Trade Centre (ITC), Roca Brothers and the Kaduna State Government and the programme was directed at empowering the people and alleviating poverty through food security.

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