By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
The federal government has called for an integrated, targeted and well-coordinated approach that will guarantee that no one goes to sleep hungry.
Speaking at the ongoing virtual World Bank-IMF 2021 Spring Meetings Roundtable On ‘Food Security In Africa: A Resilient Food System Beyond COVID-19’, Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said: “We invite the international community, particularly the multilaterals and the private sector, to key in and to assist Africa to build food resilience and pursue the attainment of the sustainable development goal (SDG) No.2 and the goals of African Union (AU) Agenda 2063.”
She noted that a robust and secured food system is central to the health of both humans and the economies of nations, adding that “as the main source of nourishment and jobs for millions of the population, the conversation around the topic is critically well set”.
On food shortage, Ahmed stated that about 230 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are still prone to chronic food insecurity, yet about one-third of food produced globally is regularly wasted.
“It is indeed sad that even in the year 2021 we are still having conversations on food wastages and chronic food shortages in some parts of the world, she added.
On Buhari’s administration vision for agriculture, the minister stated: “The vision is to work with key stakeholders to build an agribusiness economy capable of delivering sustained prosperity by meeting domestic food security goals, boosting exports, and supporting sustainable income and job growths.”
According to the minister, farmers, traders and transporters across the country are now experiencing a shift in their fortunes because the agricultural sector is witnessing a revolution propelled by the President’s vision of a country that should ‘grow what it eats’.
On agribusiness development initiatives in the country, Mrs. Ahmed said: “More initiatives abound. The growing success story on agriculture in Buhari’s administration has prompted more youths to take up full-time agriculture. More than 7 million Nigerians are actively employed in agriculture under the administration’s diversification agenda and the Ministry of Agriculture is working to ensure that the sector offers 20 million jobs in the nearest future.”
As a way forward, the Minister said: “We believe that the current food situation is unsustainable. We strongly believe that given the quantum of arable land in Africa, the time to change the global support to commercial agriculture is now.
“This certainly requires FDI flows into the agriculture value chain. Our governments are prepared and are following up with necessary macroeconomics and fiscal reforms including governance and institutional strengthening; and prioritizing intra-Africa trade as well as structural reforms and public investments”.