By Akeem Abas
Ibadan, Nov. 7, 2020 An NGO, Community Education and Empowerment Network for Africa (CEENA) known as ‘Community Africa’ has commenced the process of establishing Community Food Castle in 33 Local Government Areas of Oyo State.
Dr Emmanuel Akpan, the CEENA Director-General, made this known in a statement issued by Mr Adebowale Adeoye, the CEENA Director of Information and Strategic Planning, in Ibadan on Saturday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the main objective of CEENA is to educate and empower the masses for sustainable development in Africa.
Akpan said that the project was established to address the prevalent poverty and inequality in African nations.
“CEENA established Community-Based Enterprises Networking Scheme (CBENS) with a vision to bring about the change Nigerians are clamouring for. That is the eradication of poverty and hunger.
“SDG 1 is seen as a bedrock for inclusive, egalitarian society and sustainable development. It is a community-based project, founded to ensure no one goes to bed with empty stomach.
“An hungry man is an angry man. We want to ensure that food is made available in the community for those residing within the community.
“Quite a number of people in Nigeria today are hungry, that’s why many of them trooped out to join the recent protest to register their disapproval of starvation experienced in the country,” he said.
He said that the NGO would also create jobs for widows, youths and farmers in the community through the project.
“Let me also add this; job will be available in the community for widows, youths and farmers through this project. An idle mind they say is a devil’s workshop.
“If all our youths are fully employed and have food available to them, there would be no one on the street to protest, vandalise and cause loss of lives as witnessed last week,” Akpan said.
He said that there would be nothing like poverty, once hunger issue was taken care of, saying eradicating poverty was the collective responsibility of all.
“According to UN, COVID-19 pandemic is a health and human crisis threatening food security and nutrition of millions of people around the world.
“Meanwhile, millions of people are already suffering from hunger and malnutrition before the outbreak of COVID-19 and unless immediate action is taken, we could see a global food emergency,” he said.
The CEENA boss said that a vast majority of the world’s population took its food from local markets, while food security and nutrition remained highly susceptible to disruption.
“High level of unemployment, loss of income and rising food costs are also making access to food difficult for many.
“Prices of basic foods have begun to rise in some countries, especially Nigeria at a time when people have less money in their pockets.
“Many bottlenecks to food supply cannot be addressed by social protection alone. Government procurement and public distribution can be important to preserve functional food system and avoid food price inflation,” he said.
Akpan said that food systems contributed part of all greenhouse gas emissions and substantial biodiversity loss.
He said that there was urgent need to rethink rapidly on how we produce, process, market, consume food as well as dispose waste.
“We must all rise to tackle this now. We implore government at all levels, corporate organisations, eminent personalities in the communities to rally support for CBENS project.
Akpan said that the project could be adopted as constituency project, community based/corporate responsibility project and a service to humanity.