Nigeria on path to be free from hunger, malnutrition – Ganduje

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As Nigeria intensifies the implementation pathways for inclusive and sustainable national food systems in the country, Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has expressed hope that one day Nigerians would have a country devoid of hunger and malnutrition.

“It gives me hope that one day we will have a country devoid of hunger and malnutrition,” he said at the

zonal consultation workshop on the development of implementation strategy for food systems transformation pathways held in kano on 15 May, 2023.

The Governor, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Usman Alhaji, acknowledged that the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, had laid a solid foundation for the institutionalization of food system transformation pathways in Nigeria.

“This implementation pathways consultative workshop will lead the country towards sustainable National Food system, improve food security, reduce hunger and prevalence of malnutrition all in line with the national food and nutrition policy for Nigeria,” Governor Ganduje assured participants.

Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, noted that the Food Systems Transformation Agenda was not a Federal Government programme, but one that called for concerted efforts of everyone, including the states, local government, private sector, development partners and the citizens as food security was a critical aspect of life and survival.

Represented by the Ministry’s Director of Irrigation Agriculture and Crop Development, Mrs Sugra Mahmood, the Permanent Secretary said, “The Food System Pathways aim to improve the productivity and sustainability of the food system while promoting health and nutrition, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and enhancing socio-economic development in Nigeria. It is therefore incumbent on all of us to work collaboratively to ensure adequate food and nutritional security.”

National Convenor of the UN Food Systems in Nigeria and Director of Social Development, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (Planning Arm), Dr Sanjo Faniran, noted in his

“Overview of the Food Systems Transformation Pathways in Nigeria: The Journey So Far” that recommendations made by more than 4,000 participants during over 40 food systems dialogues had yielded six clusters of necessary actions.

These clusters, according to him, were to Improve food security and nutrition; Increase access to factors necessary for food production; Improve food aggregation, storage, processing, and market access; Facilitate consumption of adequate amounts of nutritious, safe, and healthy foods; Improve food-related policies and standards, as well as promote reconciliation and peace building; and Conduct research and make inventions that will increase the continuous availability and accessibility of nutritious foods.

Hon. Commissioner, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Kano State Dr. Yusuf Jbril Rurum, said that the Kano State Government had shown commitment towards improving food production, processing and access to market for the State’s teeming smallholder farmers.

According to him, “The State Government is determined to implement the priority actions and strategies of the National Food Systems Transformation Pathways towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in agriculture.”

“To improve Value chain and market system development for improved productivity, livelihoods and poverty reduction, the Hon. Commissioner said, the State Government is promoting community warehousing through construction of 11 commodity aggregation and 3 cottage processing centers across the State to boost and develop Business Alliances and Off-takers arrangements among farmers,” he explained.

IFAD Country Director, Ms Dede Ekoue represented by Dr Priscilla Achakpa emphasized the importance of food systems transformation agenda for Nigeria as progress in that area was being challenged by internal and external factors including climate change in the recent flood, the Ukraine war, the exchange rate of fuel, and the energy crisis.

She noted that “Many actors including development partners and donors are working with the government to address the food system agenda. The present consultation provides us a platform to exchange our interventions and initiative in the sector to enhance synergy and draw lessons to scale up and accelerate progress.”

Hon. Commissioner, Ministry of Planning and Budget, Kano State, Alhaji Ibrahim Dan-Azumi Gwarzo, restated Kano state Government’s strong commitment to the realisation of food security and access to good nutrition, through its sustainable efforts in reducing hunger and malnutrition, using a multi- sectoral approach, including different interventions at the state, local and community levels.