The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) in collaboration with the ministry of budget and national planning, United Nations and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) have held a private sector exploratory dialogue on Nigeria’s food systems to improve food security in the country.
Founder and chief executive officer of Psaltry Nigeria Ltd, Mrs. Oluyemisi Iranloye, said the COVID-19 pandemic and raging insecurity have seriously affected the nation’s agricultural industry and increased food insecurity for 25 to 50 million Nigerians.
The stakeholders acknowledged the absence of a warehouse security system which they said has contributed largely to food insecurity affecting Nigeria at the event that was held recently.
Iranloye said it was 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 help reduce hunger and malnutrition and encourage a collaborative approach among all stakeholders and that the day’s dialogue will help increase participation and create a synergy that leads to economic growth and development.
In her opening remark, permanent secretary, ministry of budget and national planning and convenor of UN member state of the dialogue for Nigeria, Mrs. Olusola Idowu, said the dialogue seeks to bring together private sector groups as they explore, debate, and shape pathways to sustainable food systems that will contribute to all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The aim is also to identify the practices and policies that will have impact on the achievement of the desired future vision within the Nigerian local food systems and consider how it will be possible to assess progress towards improved food systems as well as determine who needs to be involved in achieving the overarching objective of building effective food systems in Nigeria.
Country representative of Food and Agriculture Organisation in Nigeria, Mr Fred Kafeero, said food systems touch every aspect of human existence and it profoundly affects the health of the people as well as the health of the environment, economies and cultures.
He said for Nigeria to feed her growing population sustainably, agricultural productivity needs to grow alongside better food systems efficiency and sustainable development. Kafaero said collaboration and active participation by all stakeholders and domestic responses will not only make a huge difference but also help ensure food security.
The CEO of the NESG, Mr ‘Laoye Jaiyeola, said there is a need to enhance processing and make the agricultural space more friendly. He said partnership by all stakeholders will help to sustain and improve the agricultural sector and help the country become more successful.
In her closing remark, head, public policy reforms and intelligence of the NESG, Ms Seun Ojo said the dialogue was an important step in improving Nigeria’s food systems through the provision of pragmatic solutions and that a framework will be created that will fit into the larger UN resolutions that will help in achieving the objective of shaping an improved food system. “The best way to deal with food insecurity, malnutrition and hunger is collective and concerted collaboration and effort between government, private sector, civil society organisations and other stakeholders,” she stated.