Naija Foodie Update

Foodie Naija Update (Obasanjo, IITA Seek End To Food Scarcity)

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the International
Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, are promoting a new initiative to provide
adequate food for Nigerians.

The project, christened Zero
Hunger, is aimed at ending hunger in Nigeria by 2030.
Leading a team of experts across the agriculture process
chain and relevant government
ministries and agencies, Obasanjo launched the project
with a multi-sectoral
stakeholders’ meeting at the
IITA at the weekend.

The meeting drew a roadmap to end hunger in Nigeria by
2030. The Nigeria Zero Hunger
Strategy meeting, which received support from the
World Food Programme (WFP),
was organised in the context of the Sustainable Development
Goals (SGDs) that seeks to end
hunger by 2030.

Addressing the meeting, the former President said the task of attaining the SDGs could not be left for the government, the civil society or the private sector.

“It is going to take the collective effort of every Nigerian and our partners. It
will require our collective change of mindset to identify the opportunities that abound,” he said.

Although the MDGs may not have achieved all its targets, Obasanjo said the SDGs presented Nigeria another opportunity to drive its development agenda and end
hunger.
The former President said Nigeria’s continued import of food was unacceptable and
requested that efforts be made to address the import bill.

An angry Obasanjo gave a marching order to the stakeholders to come up with the roadmap on how the country would attain sufficiency in production of carrot and cucumber within 18 months.
He said: “It is painful,
disgraceful and unacceptable that the majority of carrots and cucumbers eaten in Lagos are imported from South Africa.
“This should stop now. Nigeria has enough fertile land to grow these.”

The WFP Representative,
Stanlake Samkanga, said unlike the MDGs, which were driven by the United Nations, the SDGs would be driven by member states.
On the sidelines, IITA Director General Dr Nteranya Sanginga praised Nigerians for their willingness to drive the initiative.
He said IITA would provide the
necessary support.

A director with the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Chiji Ojukwu, expressed the commitment of the bank to initiatives that would help Africa feed itself.
e said the bank was ready to work with Nigerian authorities through the commodity value-
chain to end hunger and poverty.

About 50 key participants from
government, ministries,
development organizations,
international entities, and public and private sectors attended the strategic meeting.

At the end of the meeting, nine
sub-committees were set up to handle the various sub-sectors.
Obasanjo said the initial target of achieving the goal is 2025, pointing out that the remaining five years could be used to address whatever gap is identified in 2025.

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