By Prince Okafor

As a move to bridge Nigeria’s food systems gap as well as reduce hunger, malnutrition in the country, stakeholders have called for total private sector involvement.

The stakeholders made this call during the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), in collaboration with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, United Nations Nigeria and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Private sector exploratory dialogue on Nigeria’s Food Systems.

According to the Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Psaltry Nigeria Ltd, Mrs Oluyemisi Iranloye, the COVID-19 pandemic and raging insecurity has affected the agricultural industry and this has increased food, insecure citizens, from 25 million to 50 million.

She stated that at the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES#26), stakeholders acknowledged the absence of a warehouse security system, contributing largely to food insecurity issues affecting Nigeria.

She said that it was expedient to have private sector participation in Nigeria’s Agricultural system to help bridge the gap that exists in Nigeria’s food systems which will help reduce hunger and malnutrition and encourage a collaborative approach among all stakeholders and that the day’s dialogue will help increase participation and create a synergy that leads to economic growth and development.

On her part, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and National Planning and Convenor of UN Member State of the Dialogue for Nigeria, Mrs. Olusola Idowu stated that the dialogue seeks to bring together private sector groups as they explore, debate, and shape pathways to sustainable food systems that will contribute to all the sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); Identify the practices and policies that will have the greatest impact on the achievement of the desired future vision within the Nigerian local food systems and consider how it will be possible to assess progress towards improved food systems as well as determine who needs to be involved in achieving the overarching objective of building effective food systems in Nigeria.

Mrs. Idowu reiterated that food systems touch all part of human existence, and for Nigeria to feed its growing population sustainably, agricultural productivity must grow alongside the entire food system.

The country representative of the Food and Agriculture Organisation in Nigeria, Mr. Fred Kafeero, in his goodwill message, said that Food systems touch every aspect of human existence and it profoundly affects the health of the people, as well as the health of the environment, economies and cultures. He stated that for Nigeria to feed its growing Nigerian population sustainably, agricultural productivity needs to grow alongside better food systems efficiency and sustainable development and that collaboration and active participation by all stakeholders and domestic responses will not only make a huge difference but also, help ensure food security.

The CEO of the NESG, Mr. Laoye Jaiyeola, in his goodwill message, said that there is a need to enhance processing and make the agricultural space more friendly. He said partnership by all stakeholders would help to sustain and improve the agricultural sector and help the country become more successful.

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