World food day: Stakeholders harp on healthy diets, zero hunger for Nigerians
In commemoration of the 2019 World Food Day, experts have called for collective efforts of all stakeholders, for a healthy diet to secure the future of the country.
This year’s theme: “Our Actions Our Future: Healthy Diets For A Zero Hunger World,” reflects the need for collective action towards increasing food production in addition to ensuring the quality of food being consumed.
At the Lagos Farm Fair, organised by Lagos State Government, in partnership with British American Tobacco Nigeria (BATN) Foundation, held at the Police College Ground, Ikeja, to mark the day, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the theme highlights the state’s efforts through the food security initiative and commitment to prevent the consumption of unwholesome food.
He said the only way to effectively fight poverty and hunger in the country is to boost agricultural production and prevent post-harvest losses and wastage, which constitute a major threat to the achievement of food security objectives.
“We have to imbibe the lessons learned from the dwindling returns from oil to encourage family participation in farming so that most of our basic needs could be met locally and we would be independent of others to feed ourselves.
“We have also put this to practice in our schools where we have established different farming enterprises to train and teach the students in modern farming techniques,” Sanwo-Olu explained.
The Technical Committee Member, BATNF, Mr. Fatai Afolabi, who disclosed that in the second quarter of 2019, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from the sector rose from N3.5m in the first quarter to over N3.8m, adding that the sector is capable of contributing more if farm produce can get to consumers regularly.
“We all appreciate that no matter how fantastic a product is if it does not get to its end-users at the appropriate time, that product will rot away in storage. This prompted our collaboration with the state government and other sponsors for this fair. We have always identified with smallholder farmers and we will continue to do all we can to promote agricultural enterprise by encouraging a commercial mindset in subsistence farmers and support them to run their farms as sustainable agribusinesses.
Executive Director of BATNF, Abimbola Okoya, emphasised collaboration between the private and public sectors to find a lasting solution to hunger and malnutrition, and also to step up agriculture’s contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
She noted that the company’s support for the fair is part of their contribution towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal, which aims to end hunger in the country.