BY EGABRIEL EWEPU
AS Nigeria press to achieve food security, several international organisations had pledged their collaboration with the federal government to produce high energy nutritious foods for the country and Africa.
Minister of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, yesterday, disclosed this at the ongoing World Economic Forum for Africa, WEFA, in Abuja, as he expressed optimism for the collaboration between Dansa Holdings, Syngenta, United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF, HarvestPlus, and World Food Program, WFP.
Others are, the Global Alliance for Improving Nutrition, GAIN, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, Department for International Development, DFID, and several other major supporters of the nutrition agenda in Africa.
Adesina also lamented the high level of poor nutrition in most African countries, which was traceable to lack of essential minerals and vitamins. According to him 12 Africans die every minute as a result of hunger and malnutrition, and almost 240 million people in sub-Saharan Africa do not eat well enough to ensure their health and well-being.
He further stated that the African continent was plagued by undernourishment, as almost one in four people, with 80 percent of the world’s stunted children living in just 14 countries, of which eight were in Africa.
In his address, the Minister maintained that the major reason for high malnutrition in Africa was the poor performance of agriculture which had been the main source of livelihoods for majority of the poor, and that all along, agriculture had been treated as a development sector, a way to manage but not eliminate poverty.
To reverse this trend, the minister said, the federal government decided to adopt a workable platform where all those involved in agriculture and allied businesses could start seeing agriculture as a money-making business with government providing leadership and the private sector at the driving seat.