The Honourable Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, has stressed the need for a fundamental review of past approaches and strategies used in the implementation of the food systems pathways in Nigeria, pointing out that the review has become necessary to develop an approach that will ensure that better progress is made in achieving better results in the country’s vision for sustainable food security.
Agba made the call on Tuesday, 18th April 2023, in Abuja, during a meeting with some Donors/Partners on the implementation of the food systems transformation pathways in Nigeria.
He solicited the commitment and support of the stakeholders in line with the mandates of the Office and other areas of operations and interventions.
The minister identified both technical and financial challenges as some of the factors militating against the implementation of food systems pathway by the federal government.
He said that the needed funds for the food systems implementation would require the pooling of public and private sector resources, including development partners and donors.
He stated that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, in its determination to ensure that there was an improvement in the food and nutrition situation in the country, adopted a strategic approach towards ensuring that successive governments in Nigeria continued to prioritize food and nutrition interventions in the nation’s development agenda.
“Consequently, the Ministry has been championing the implementation of the presidential directive on the establishment of nutrition departments and the creation of budget line for nutrition in all line Ministries, Departments and Agencies,” he said.
He added that “the Federal Government understood that achieving universal access to safe, nutritious, affordable and sustainable diets is critical to addressing the complexities of malnutrition and food insecurity in Nigeria.”
Citing statistical projections from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) that about 25.3 million people in Nigeria would face acute food insecurity in 2022 Agba said that the Federal Government recently commenced an integrated approach to solving the challenges of the food ecosystems by addressing huge food deficit among other factors.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Engr. Nebeolisa Anako, recalled that the journey which was aimed at transforming the country’s Food Systems started in 2020 following the call by the Secretary General of the United Nations that countries should take proactive measures to make their food systems more sustainable and resilient since the year 2021 -2030 had been designated as the UN Decade of Action for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He added that the implementation of key recommendations for the food systems was ongoing at different stages both at the national and sub-national levels of Government with the Government of Nigeria, the private sector, donors, and development partners as accelerators.
The Permanent Secretary also said that the Federal Government appreciated the tremendous efforts currently being received from all partners, urging them to continue to support the Government until the country’s food systems could provide safe, affordable, and nutritious diets to all Nigerians irrespective of class or status.
During a Presentation on the Overview of the Food Systems in Nigeria, the Deputy Director, Food & Nutrition, Department of Social Development of the Ministry, Mrs. Chito Nelson, stressed that the development of the Food Systems Transformation Pathway remained a collective responsibility, stressing that stakeholders’ efforts were needed to ensure its implementation.
She maintained that the best way of ensuring synergy with stakeholders for better engagement and sustained improvement in Nigeria’s food systems transformation was through adequate coordination.
Among other participants at the meeting was the UN Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator, Nigeria, Mathias Schmale, who averred that with necessary support, Nigeria had the capacity of not only to feed itself but also the entire Africa continent.
He commended the Federal Government’s efforts towards food security, in line with Sustainable Development Goals, and pledged the support of the United Nations towards the full implementation of food systems in Nigeria.
Olude Omolade (Mrs)
Principal Information Officer
For:Director, Information (BNP)