The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, says that the greatest challenge to democracy in Nigeria is the issue of food security.
Adesina said this at the programme for the launch of the UNDP, First Africa Human Development report in Nigeria at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja on Monday.
He explained that government has embarked on interventionist programme on agriculture to provide enough food for the citizenry.
The minister said to underscore the importance of agriculture to national economy, the Federal Government had set up the Agricultural Transformation Implementation Council (ATIC), chaired by President Goodluck Jonathan.
``The council shall coordinate the transformational agenda of the government in the agricultural sector and ensure that at least five million rural farmers are lifted from poverty level before 2015. ``
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria’s former President and the chief launcher of the report, noted that UNDP 2012 report on food security indicted the leadership of the African continent.
According to him, ``Africa with all the natural resources it is endowed with has no business being tagged a poor and hungry people.’’
He, however, noted that the report on the other hand was a clarion call to leaders to wake up to their responsibility of salvaging the continent from sliding into backwardness in food security.
In his welcome address, the UN Resident Representative, Daouda Toure, said that the UNDP report was published annually since 1990, to initiate and help drive the evolution of the concept of human development.
Toure said this year's report was on comprehensive approach to food security, stressing that it was timely and important.
``It reminds us that food security is basic to human development and that food insecurity can trap generations of people in underdevelopment.’’
NAN reports that highlights of the report revolved around the critical issues of resolving the problem of hunger and starvation; it recommended government and private partnership in solving the problem.
It decried what it termed: ``Food insecurity and chronic hunger’’ amidst abundant resources, persistent challenges and emerging threats to food security in Sub-Saharan Africa.
On a positive note, the UNDP report proffers solution to the issue of hunger through an agenda of empowerment for social justice, gender equality and food for everyone.