The Federal Government is well disposed to tackling the current inflation and other challenges of food security in the country.
This was recently expressed virtually by the Vice-President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, during the preparatory meeting of the United Nations Food Systems Summit 2021.
Osinbajo stated that the Nigerian Government was committed to addressing the drivers of food insecurity such as food inflation, changing consumption patterns, and climate change, among others.
“These actions complement existing development plans and sectoral strategies such as our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, the National Policy on Food and Nutrition, and the National Policy on Food Safety,” Osinbajo said.
He emphasised that transforming Africa’s food system was an obvious task requiring the active mobilization and prioritization of both public and private investments.
The VP noted that the specific aim of the recently launched National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy is to address hunger, malnutrition and poverty as part of the present administration’s target of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within a decade.
According to him, at the heart of Nigeria’s post-COVID-19 response is the Economic Sustainability Plan which has a major component, in the form of the Agriculture for Food and Jobs Programme (AFJP) which seeks to leverage suitable technologies to build a resilient food system for Nigeria.
In his words, “Our Nutrition Policy addresses the issues of sustainable and nutrition-sensitive food systems and the country has prioritized key nutrition actions that are impactful, cost-effective, scalable and sustainable.
“An integral part of our food systems transformation strategy is to create an enabling and supportive environment to implement these policies in a participatory manner involving farmers, investors and state governments,” he added.
Osinbajo further noted that Nigeria and several other African countries are examples of nations whose population growth exceeds growth in national income and food supply, especially when distribution systems are inequitable.
“Post-harvest losses in Africa, and particularly in Nigeria, are more than 20 percent of production for several food groups. And this is due mainly to poor storage, poor rural infrastructure and non-automation of food processing, amongst other things.
“The situation in many African countries is given increased urgency with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to growing levels of acute food insecurity. This is of great concern to all of us, especially if we recall that prior to the pandemic, the prevalence of severe food insecurity was as high as 22 percent,” he stated.