From: Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
A Group under the auspices of Civil Society-Scaling up Nutrition in Nigeria CS-SUNN has discribed as worrisome recent publication by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), that about 7 million Nigerians experience food shortage between June and August this year.
The Executive Secretary of the Group Beatrice Eluaka stated this in a statement to mark the World Food Day and made available to media in kaduna yesterday.
She explained that it is worrisome to note that FAO had also reported that FCT including 16 northern states Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, Gombe, Benue, Taraba, Katsina, Jigawa, Kano, Bauchi, Plateau, Kaduna, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara were identified to face this crisis saying Nigeria still has the highest burden of stunting in Africa and is still the second highest in the world next to India.
Eluaka said the commemoration promotes world-wide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and the need to ensure food and nutrition security for all.
“It provides an opportunity to call for global collaboration and efforts to transform food systems by changing the way food is produced, stored, consumed, and even wasted.
“ The World Food Day further brings to bear another opportunity for governments across the world including the Nigerian government, to act on commitment to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 – to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030,” She said.
Speaking on the theme of the 2020 World Food Day, “Grow, Nourish, Sustain, Together. Our Actions, Our Future.” the CS-SUNN Executive Secretary disclosed that it is important to note that in recent times, though some significant progress has been made in improving agricultural productivity and ensuring nutrition security, food systems are out of balance.
She added that Malnutrition, hunger, obesity, environmental degradation, loss of agro-biological diversity, food loss/waste and a lack of security for food chain workers are only some of the issues that underline this imbalance.
Eluaka said CS-SUNN urges the government at all levels to:
Prioritize the food and nutrition needs of the poorest and most vulnerable households in Nigeria by expanding and improving emergency food assistance and social protection programmes.
“ Approve and implement the National Multisectoral Plan of Action for Nutrition to guarantee optimal nutritional status for Nigerians through accelerating the scaling up of priority high impact nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive interventions with focus on the most vulnerable, especially women, children and internally displaced persons.
“ Prioritize nutrition in Nigeria by improving budgetary allocations, releasing and cash backing those allocations while ensuring transparency and accountability in use of funds directed at addressing malnutrition.
“Extend the current 4 months maternity leave for nursing mothers to 6 months to enable them exclusively to breastfeed their babies.
“ Prioritize Nigeria’s Food fortification agenda and ensure an improved integration of fortification regulatory monitoring into overall food inspection system. This will go a long way in tackling the challenge of “hidden hunger” and micronutrient deficiencies in Nigeria.”