The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has urged the Nigerian government to take decisive action to achieve a sustainable and inclusive food system transformation given that the country’s population is expected to reach 400 million by 2050.
The FAO expressed concerns that large food deficits continue to be a major challenge for the nation’s food system despite the potential to feed its expanding population into the coming decades, according to the Nigeria food system assessment profile carried out by the international organization in 2022.
They claimed that establishing inclusive and sustainable food systems at all levels of the structure, governance, and administration will help achieve food self-sufficiency.
The recently published assessment highlighted the weaknesses in Nigeria’s food system, including low yields, post-harvest losses, food safety issues, and the effects of climate change, along with lax application of pertinent policies and laws, noting that all of the weaknesses combined to stall the production of primarily rain-fed agriculture.
The assessment was a component of a joint initiative launched by the European Union (EU), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the French Research Centre for Agricultural Development, CIRAD, in cooperation with the Government of Nigeria, according to a statement signed by the FAO National Communication Specialist, David Tsokar.
It stated that the goal was to pinpoint the major roadblocks and ports of entry for comprehending the obstacles to inclusive and sustainable food systems, as well as to suggest creative policy and funding alternatives.
In his remarks on the report, Fred Kafeero, the FAO country representative for Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), outlined four major obstacles preventing the nation from moving toward a desired sustainable food system.
These include the food system’s susceptibility to domestic and international shocks; agrifood value chains that are underdeveloped; food system vulnerability to climate change and natural resource degradation; and poor diet quality and high prevalence of food and nutrition insecurity”.
He noted that because of a number of factors, such as changing diets, technology, urbanization, and climate change, the current food systems are unable to fulfill their mandate of providing wholesome food for everyone and enhancing livelihood opportunities in a manner that is environmentally sustainable.
He remarked, “There may be enough food to feed everyone – preventing the dual health burdens of malnutrition and obesity. However, the economic and territorial imbalances are such that food systems do not generate fair economic returns for all actors, particularly for small-scale producers, triggering an endless cycle of precariousness and poverty. Current food systems need to be transformed if we are to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.”
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