Following predictions of a looming food crisis in Nigeria, food and economic experts in the country have advised on the need to employ reformed agricultural practices to boost food production in the country.
The advice was given on Tuesday at a private sector dialogue on Nigeria’s Food Systems hosted by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), in collaboration with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, United Nations Nigeria and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
In her remarks at the dialogue, Olusola Idowu, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, said it has become necessary to explore and debate ways Nigeria can avert a food crisis and achieve a sustainable food availability system in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Idowu, who is a Convenor of UN Member States for Nigeria on the National Food Systems Dialogue, said reformed practices that will aid agricultural productivity while improving the food systems must be adopted.
“For Nigeria to feed its growing population sustainably, agricultural productivity must grow alongside the entire food system. We need to identify the practices and policies that will have the greatest impact on the achievement of the desired future within the Nigerian food systems and as well as determine who needs to be involved in achieving the primary objective of building effective food systems in Nigeria,” she said.
Oluyemisi Iranloye, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Psaltry Nigeria Ltd, said that the COVID-19 pandemic and raging insecurity have affected the agricultural sector, hence it has an impact on food availability in the country.
Iranloye recalled that during the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit, stakeholders acknowledged the absence of a warehouse security system, which has contributed largely to the food insecurity issues affecting Nigeria
“It is expedient to have private sector participation in Nigeria’s agricultural system to help bridge the gap that exists in Nigeria’s food systems which will avert a food crisis and create a synergy that will lead to economic growth and development,” she said.
Fred Kafeero, country representative of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Nigeria, said food is a critical factor in human existence, economic and environmental activity, hence its availability or scarcity will have a profound impact on all sectors of the country.
He added that it is a shared responsibility between the government and the private sector to ensure food availability.
“The best way to deal with food insecurity, malnutrition and hunger is collective and concerted collaboration through combined efforts, knowledge, and resources between the government, private sector, civil society organizations and all stakeholders,” he explained.
Laoye Jaiyeola, CEO, NESG, also said that collaborative efforts will churn out pragmatic solutions, hence a feasible framework will be created, which will fit into the larger UN resolutions. He said this will help in achieving the objective of an improved food system.