FG moves to strengthen food system

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… As FAO promises to expand food intervention for women in Nigeria

By Joyce Remi-Babayeju

As a way of enhancing the nation’s food security, the Permanent Secretary, Budget and National Planning, Engr. Nebeolisa Anako, has harped on stronger collaboration among the states, the private sector and Federal Government, towards the development of a robust and inclusive implementation strategy for the Food Systems Transformation Pathways, in Nigeria.

Anako made this call in Awka, Anambra state, during the southern Zonal consultative workshop for the development of implementation strategy for food systems in Nigeria.

Anako who was represented by his Personal Assistant Okechukwu Ezekwesili said “the southern zonal workshop is imperative for all the 17 states in the southern zone of the country , other relevant stakeholders especially, actors in the food systems value chain in our collective efforts to strengthen and ensure an inclusive and jointly-owned implementation strategy for a robust implementation strategy for the Food Systems and Transformation Pathways in Nigeria.”

It is important to note that the Food System Transformation Agenda is not a Federal Government programme, but one that calls for concerted efforts of everyone, including the states, local government, private sector, development partners and the citizens as food security is a critical aspect of live and survival. It is therefore incumbent on all of us work collaboratively to ensure adequate food and nutritional security, he said

Ezekwesili added that the Food Systems Pathways represented a comprehensive and holistic approach to sustainable development in the food system.

“It aims to improve the productivity and sustainability of the food system while promoting health and nutrition, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and enhancing socio-economic development in Nigeria. ”

The implementation of the food systems transformation pathways requires a multi-stakeholder approach and engagement at all levels to ensure that the objectives are achieved” he said.

He however recalled that the journey of the Food Systems Transformation pathways in Nigeria started in December 2020 in response to the call by the Secretary General of the United Nations that countries should look inward and identify the challenges of food from farm to fork.

Governor of Anambra State, Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Ernest Ezeajughi said it was an exciting opportunity for Anambra to host a workshop that was focused on strengthening food systems across the Southern region of Nigeria.

This main objective for this workshop is to define and present the key pathways for transforming our current food systems – taking into consideration the end-to-end food production value chain which is from production to final consumption, Solido added

Prof. Soludo said “the need for a workshop of this nature cannot be over emphasized considering its impact on the economy and ability to solve social deprivation issues such as hunger, malnutrition, diseases, etc.”

He noted, “if we can foster collaboration efforts between states, we can build the necessary partnerships required to strengthen food systems in Nigeria.”

The National Convenor of the UN Food Systems, Nigeria and Director of Social Development in the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (the Planning arm), Dr Sanjo Faniran said that the national food systems transformation sought to achieve some goals by 2030, among which were reduction of poverty and unemployment,

Meanwhile, the Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, Representative in Nigeria and to ECOWAS, Fred Kafeero said to ensure optimal nutrition for women and children, FAO was collaborating with Federal Ministry Agriculture and Rural Development, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), and local partners, on a project; advancing and expanding the uptake of the Minimum Dietary Diversity for Women (MDD-W) indicator.

“This collaboration involves capacity development in data collection, interpretation and it is used to inform agrifood system transformative policies and programs in Nigeria.”

“The pilot phase of this project is ongoing, with a capacity needs assessment underway to guide the development of a capacity development strategy for use in Nigeria” Kafeero explained.

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