Obasanjo, IITA, others partner on food security

Obasanjo, IITA, others partner on food security

Obasanjo, IITA, others partner on food security

by May 3, 2016 0 comments

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Thursday held a meeting with food experts, international agencies and state governments at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan, Oyo State where discussions were held on how to tackle hunger in Africa and put a stop to the importation of food items by Nigeria.

Tagged ‘Zero Hunger,’ the initiative had the support of IITA, the United Nations World Food Program, the Food and Agricultural Organisation, the European Union, the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, and the African Development Bank, among others.

Organisers said the initiative would strive to seek an end to chronic hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture in Nigeria by 2025, five years ahead of the projected end of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Speaking at the inaugural meeting, Obasanjo bemoaned the importation of farm produce like cabbage, lettuce and carrots from South Africa despite Nigeria’s large population.

He said, “We are here to begin a new journey that will redefine the destiny of hundreds of millions of people of Africa in general and Nigeria in particular. This day is significant as we jointly put our efforts together to draw a roadmap that will unlock the potential of our nation and emancipate our dear country from the shackles of hunger and poverty.

“Though the SDGs are laudable, the key to achieving them depends on implementation and our collective will. Let me reiterate that the task of attaining the SDGs cannot be left for government alone; neither can it be left for the civil society nor the private sector.  It is going to take the collective effort of each and every citizen of this great nation and our partners.”

Obasanjo, who convened the meeting, reminded participants that it was necessary to first identify the opportunities in the agricultural sector, while also expressing confidence in the ability of the stakeholders and partners to deliver on the initiative ahead of schedule.

He said over the past decades, poverty levels have declined worldwide, but only marginally in most African countries.

Obasanjo added, “Available data clearly indicate that in most African nations, people are still living on less than $1.25 per day.  The fact that Africa has, in recent past, recorded substantial economic growth doesn’t seem to have impacted on the poverty levels.

“Statistics from the United Nations show that Africa has the second largest number of hungry people and is the region that has the largest number of undernourished people. Africa, including Nigeria, is still lagging behind and grappling with the issues of unemployment, gender inequality, low wages and low productivity.”

Copyright PUNCH.

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