The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) has called for collective actions to improve Nigeria’s food system. This was contained in a statement to mark the World Food Day.
The non-governmental organisation said it was pertinent for Nigeria to kickstart the implementation of priority actions collectively agreed upon at the recently concluded UN Food Systems Summit.
“Like over 130 other countries, the Nigerian government brought multiple food system stakeholders together over a period of eight months to deliberate and reflect on the state of our food systems, and what are the game changing ideas…of national and sub-national (not global) to reduce hunger, increase access to nutritious and safe foods, and help us to attain the sustainable development goals especially those relating to hunger, health and well-being of Nigerians,” it said.
The statement said: “GAIN took a strategic decision about 5 years ago to focus its energies on transforming food systems, so they deliver nutritious and safe foods in the required quantities and at affordable prices to ensure that Nigerians, especially those most vulnerable to malnutrition, have access to healthy diets.
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“From the independent dialogues hosted in Nigeria, there were clear indications that from national to sub-national and even to community levels, the way our food systems work is still unknown to many, and that hunger has continued to rise in Nigeria with the most recent data classifying 44percent of Nigerians as moderately to severely food insecure.”
It further said that the dialogues “were also a reminder that over a third of our children are stunted and less than 10percent of Nigerians can afford a healthy diet that provides all the recommended food groups including fresh fruits and vegetables, hence the need to start looking for more ways of championing collective efforts towards strengthening our food systems, to significantly reduce levels of malnutrition in the country.”
This year’s World Food Day’s theme, ‘Our actions are our future- better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life’ is very apt as it brings home the message that more collective actions are necessary to improve our food systems.
To achieve this is to constantly remind ourselves of the priority actions we have agreed on as a country to chart the necessary course of action for our food systems, chief of which is to develop our priority value chains and markets for increased productivity and enhanced livelihoods, increase demand for, and consumption of nutritious, safe foods delivered through markets and through social protection schemes and lastly linking research, innovation, extension systems, etc. in public-private partnerships for food systems sustainability.
GAIN itself is committing to investing a minimum of USD250 million over the next five years to support implementation in national food systems transformation pathways and identified priority actions in the countries we work in including Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Tanzania – working with and through national, state and local governments and their systems and with a wide array of partners.