FG, UN holds dialogue on food systems with rural stakeholders

Rural stakeholders at Adogo, Kogi State during a brain storming session on how to improve and achieve sustainable food systems

The Federal Government in collaboration with the United Nations (UN) International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has organised Rural Community Food Systems Dialogue in eight states across Nigeria.

The dialogue is aimed at identifying practices and policies that would enhance food availability and affordability for all in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) vision 2030.

The Rural Community Food Systems Dialogue which held simultaneously on May 18, 2021 at rural communities in Ogun, Kogi, Taraba, Anambra, Ondo, Niger, Abia and Bayelsa States was facilitated by IFAD Value Chain Development Programme (IFAD-VCDP) and IFAD Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises in the Niger Delta (LIFE-ND) project. The dialogue had in attendance, stakeholders such as rural farmers, food processors, artisans, business women and men; market women, youths, health workers, traditional and religious leaders.

Declaring the dialogue opened at Adogo Community, Kogi State, the National Programme Coordinator, IFAD-VCDP, Alhaji Garba Bala, said the rural stakeholders dialogue is being done at the instance of the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres who is convening a world Food Summit in New York in September.

Bala stated that as part of preparatory process to this world food summit that would be devoted to improving food production, improved nutrition, reduce poverty and hunger among others, each country that is a member of United Nations is expected to hold National Food Systems Summit.

According to him “Nigeria had held its national and regional food dialogue in February and April respectively; this third stage is about capturing specifically the rural community stakeholders who are more often than not neglected whereas they are majorly the people involved in agriculture”.

A participant, Mr Isa Yakubu, the Secretary of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in Ajaokuta, Kogi State called on the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and NAFDAC to ensure that standard and quality farm inputs such as chemicals and seeds are sold to farmers.

According to Yakubu, most of the pesticides, herbicides and seeds the farmers were buying are substandard products which are having negative effects on their farm produce.

Another participant, a youth leader and farmer in Sabagrei Community in Bayelsa State, Mr Ugo Funebi, urged the federal government to establish public-private managed food banks, storage facilities to store harvested surplus agricultural produce harvested in the community.

Also commenting on the dialogue, the traditional ruler of Kobape Community in Ogun Sate, Oba Johnson Alani lauded the government and the UN for deeming it fit to hear from the rural dwellers on ways to enhance food production saying that it was no doubt a good move towards achieving food security and eradicating poverty and hunger across the globe.

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