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UN mechanism that can aid Nigeria food system

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By Usman Oladimeji

Countries must invest more in early warning and shock-resistant systems.

As a country with diverse culture, Nigeria’s food system comprises a variety of rich cuisine with the use of local ingredients. Nonetheless, the country’s food systems suffer a number of challenges that have an impact on the nutrition and health of its people. Over 90 million people in Nigeria, according to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), are at risk of food insecurity. Challenges facing the country’s food production system include a deficit of innovative farming technologies, outdated infrastructure, and the effects of climate change that lower agricultural yields.

Malnutrition is another challenge that has an impact on both children and adults in Nigeria. The Global Nutrition Report found that malnutrition stunts the growth of one in three Nigerian children younger than five. There is also a significant challenge with adult malnutrition, with many people suffering from deficits in essential nutrients including iron, vitamin A, and iodine. Many rural communities in Nigeria lack the necessary infrastructure, such as roads and storage facilities, for food to reach those who are in need.This has resulted in food waste, especially fresh fruits and vegetables.

Many communities are on the verge of sliding into food insecurity.

The UN asserts that dysfunctional food systems are not unavoidable, but rather the outcome of human decision-making. The report concluded that there is more than enough food for everyone, as well as sufficient resources to create efficient and sustainable food systems capable of feeding the world while also guaranteeing decent employment for the people who grow the food we consume. At the 2023 Food Systems Submit in Rome last week, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres remarked that many communities are on the verge of sliding into food insecurity or perhaps famine.

According to General Guterres, one in five people in Africa are going hungry, which is more than twice the world average, based on recent data released by the State of Food Security and Nutrition Report. In order to adapt to the changing climate, he said, countries must invest more in early warning systems and robust food, health, water, sanitation and agricultural shock-resistant systems. To this end, he urged states to show green light towards the call for a Sustainable Development Goals stimulus of at least $500 billion per year in order to increase affordable long-term finance for all countries in need.

Government encouraged to develop innovative solutions to reduce prices.

He explained that the funding would aid countries achieve significant progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 2: achieving zero hunger, and to establish mechanisms to ensure that all people, regardless their income or location, have access to healthy food. In addition, Guterres urged governments to back a Food Stockholding Mechanism for the least-developed countries and the Food Import Facility proposed by the Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy, and Finance to help at least 50 countries with severe food insecurity.

Furthermore, Guterres stressed the importance of government and business collaboration in creating systems that prioritize citizens over profits. The government, agriculture, transportation, and retail sectors were encouraged to develop innovative solutions to reduce the price and enhance the availability of affordable, high-quality food for all people. This includes leveraging science and technology to increase the effectiveness and food distribution systems, as well as maintaining food markets open and reducing trade barriers and export restrictions. Workforces involved in the food chain should also receive support, he added.

Nigeria’s food system requires intensive government efforts.

It is undeniable that Nigeria’s food systems encounter numerous challenges that exert an impact on the nutritional and well-being of its populace. However, it is imperative that the federal and state governments intensify their efforts to confront these obstacles and enhance the nation’s food production, distribution, and consumption systems. These efforts are of utmost importance in guaranteeing that Nigerians gain access to nutritious food so as to be able to live healthy and productive lives as members of society.

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