The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), a non-profit organisation, said it will support multi-stakeholder efforts at transforming food systems to end malnutrition in Nigeria.
The country director of the organisation, Dr Micheal Ojo, gave the assurance in a statement at the weekend in Abuja.
He noted that as Nigeria takes part in the first ever UN Food Systems Summit last Thursday in New York, GAIN was set to join other stakeholders in the country to take the fight to malnutrition.
According to him, the summit which is a historic opportunity to bring global focus on malnutrition in all its forms and the role that food systems play in finding lasting solutions through the improvement diets for all people will centre on food – how much of it is produced and where, how diverse the options available are, and the implications of how these food systems work for our climate, for livelihoods and for social equity and justice.
“Nigeria is a vast and diverse nation, and Africa’s most populous country, but we are facing critical issues. From hunger and malnutrition to environment and nature; to livelihoods and human rights; to resilience to shocks and stresses like COVID-19 pandemic and the climate emergency. While Nigeria enjoys a rich food culture increasingly recognised around the world, its food and nutrition issues remain significant,” he said.
Home to the second highest population of stunted children less than five years of age in the world, Ojo noted that Nigeria continues to face many deep-rooted challenges which are making hunger and malnutrition more prevalent.
Over the past eight months, a number of priority pathways have emerged from the country-level UN Food Systems Dialogues which brought together a wide range of parties interested in our food systems at national, state and community convenings.
He further stated that, “From the wide ranging dialogues held, some of the key priority actions to be undertaken would include developing a much better understanding of how our food systems work based on data and research, early action to reduce the amounts of food going to waste, and supporting the roles and contributions of women and young people more directly to ensure those most impacted by a failing food system have a central role in shaping its transformation.
“We also hope to see improvements in the national food fortification programme through increased compliance monitoring and enforcement through digital technology, strengthening and scaling up of social protection schemes that help the most vulnerable get food and an expansion in the cultivation and consumption of nutrient enriched staples as some of the immediate fallouts for Nigeria.
“Long-time priority actions will focus on the development and deployment of policy and legislation to institutionalise the national food systems transformation pathways and reform of the land tenure system for easy access to land by youths and women,’’ he said