Nutritionist expert, Dr. Michael Ojo, has said an additional 118 million people are going to bed hungry, that is an increase of 18 percent globally in a space of 2019 to 2020, accounting for a 50 percent increase in West Africa, which is the region with the highest change.
Ojo, also said the Country Director Grand Alliance for Improved Nutrition, GAIN, made this known at a virtual conference in Abuja during the launch of Act4Food Act4Change Campaign in Nigeria.
According to him, the COVID-19 pandemic was a major factor that contributed to the surge of global hunger in West Africa, saying that plans were put in place to cushion the effects of hunger, but unfortunately, the pandemic hit.
He noted that one-third of Nigerians cannot afford a sufficient diet and 90 percent cannot afford a healthy diet, stressing that “We see high food prices, especially the high cost of healthy diets combined with high levels of income in quality, putting healthy diets around the reach for about three billion people especially the poor, in every region of the world.”
He highlighted that the Nigerian food systems is in need of fixing, adding that it would be fixed by intensifying efforts towards ending hunger, malnutrition and engaging the youths to be advocates for change.
“Young people should get involved and be advocates for change, youths are the majority in the world. When we drill down to Nigeria, we have one of the youngest populations in the world. My charge for the young people today is to move beyond asking, the future for food and global rights is the youths.
“There’s a lot of work to be done for young people to explode all over this campaign. We currently have just 7,000 pledges made on the Act4Food portal, we are a nation of over 200 million, we are aiming 50,000 pledges for votes and action. We must #doublethepledge”.
In the same vein, Youth Leader Act4Food Act4Change Campaign in Nigeria, Azeez Salawu, said the Campaign’s objectives are to raise awareness on food systems as a systematic issue and build a community of young food systems change makers.
He said: “The goal is to encourage as many as young people to sign 50,000 pledges Act for food and votes for Actions for Change in Nigeria.
“Our movement begins with a simple pledge. The pledge and list of actions are a youth-led movement galvanising action to defeat hunger, improve health and heal the planet.
“The campaign brings together young people from around the world to focus on their personal action as a contribution to system change. It urges governments, businesses, UN agencies, youth counterparts, and people of all ages to act boldly and promptly.”
Earlier, Representative for Food Foundation, Mike Khunga, said the Foundation is in support of the campaign and enjoins Nigerians to give their support for the movement.