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FNS2021: Stakeholders seek to repair Nigeria’s weak food system

FAO to award $10,000 for agri-food systems innovation, others 

The Feed Nigeria Summit is set to kick-start its 2021 summit on Monday to proffer clear-cut solutions to strengthen Nigeria’s broken linkages in its food system, stakeholders in the agricultural sector say.

The stakeholders who spoke at the pre-summit webinar of the forthcoming Feed Nigeria Summit themed ‘Post-COVID 19: A Repaired Food System, Pathway to a Revived Economy,’ billed for 23rd and 24th August 2021 say the activity of the summit will address concerns surrounding the country’s food system.

They note that the summit will provide solutions to support the overall economic recovery efforts of government at all levels.

Sabo Nanono, Minister of Agriculture says the summit is cardinal to charting the course of sustainable and tailored solutions to the challenges bedeviling Nigeria’s agricultural sector.

The minister who was represented by Karima Babaginda, a director at the Ministry of Agric, reaffirms that the ministry’s commitment to accelerating the country’s progress towards adequate agricultural production, improvement in quality of commodities to meet international standards, and lifting of millions of out of poverty.

He adds that solutions proffered at FNS2021 will be adequately deployed to expand on the ministry’s objectives through mechanisation.

Read also: Feed Nigeria Summit seeks to address Nigeria’s weak food system, productivity concerns

On her part, Gill Atkinson, British Acting High Commissioner, who was represented by Oluwaseyi Adepoju, trade advisor, agriculture & mining sectors at the Department for International Trade (DIT) highlights the bond between the UK government and Nigeria’s in developing the use of high yielding, drought and flood resilient seeds for rice and maize.

Atkinson says that the UK has aided in the commercialisation of Aflasafe, a natural fungus that reduces mycotoxins in food while supporting the use of solar irrigation and solar dryers to reduce food wastage.

Similarly, Oyebanji Oyelaran, a professor and the senior special adviser on industrialization to the President of the African Development Bank (AFDB), harps on the need to ramp up the idea of clustering and agglomeration in space as relates to agro zones.

“Nigeria shouldn’t be going hungry, it should not be in a food crisis, Nigeria should be a leader in agribusiness and Special Agro Zones are the model to go in dealing with repairing Nigeria’s food system,” Oyelaran says.

On his part, Debisi Araba, chief adviser on the FNS Deal Room says that despite the challenges faced by the agricultural sector, the global agricultural food industry is valued at $8 trillion, noting that this drives the need for improvement in Nigeria’s agriculture due to its great potential.

Araba noted that the FNS Deal Room is aimed at achieving viable agribusiness propositions which will be targeted at investors to facilitate funding while ensuring improved scale of investments in the agricultural sector.

Eustace Iyayi, a professor and the chairman of the FNS organising committee, notes that the importance of the summit in promoting agricultural development which was affected by the impact of COVID-19 while stressing the need for stringent attention on agricultural production to boost a sustainable food system.