Jutha Gupah, Maiduguri
Director-General of Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), Mr. Qu Dong Yu; has said that to achieve zero hunger by 2030, all forms of malnutrition must be globally addressed among various income groups. Yu made the call on Wednesday; to mark World Food Day (WFD), 2019 in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital. He said that this year’s WFD with theme: “Healthy Diets for a Zero Hunger World” focuses on healthy diets among the people in Northeast Nigeria and across the globe. The Director-General, who was represented by FAO head office Maiduguri, Mr. Al Hassan Cisse, said: “Eradicating hunger is FAO’s topmost priority, but we also need to address all forms of malnutrition.”
He disclosed that the latest data shows that malnutrition is increasing across all regions and among income groups. He therefore; called for action to make healthy and sustainable diets that could be accessible and affordable to everyone. He said that to achieve this, there should be fundamental partnership among Governments, farmers, researchers, the Organized Private Sector (OPS) and consumers. According to him, all the partners have a role to play in overcoming the challenges of increasing malnutrition, particularly among children below the age of five. His words: “Farmers need better incentives to increase and diversify the production of high quality food. “Governments need to adopt policies, food standards and regulations that prioritize the availability and affordability of safe and nutritious foods.” He said research institutions also need to provide the best scientific advice and push the boundaries of knowledge and technology. He further disclosed that OPS can positively influence the food environment by adapting its products to modern nutritional recommendations.
He however; warned that; “Individuals also need to think about their food choices and eating patterns through what Cisse described as: “Awareness and learning.” According to him, the UN food agency supports member countries in their efforts to make sustainable healthy diets a reality for all. “FAO strengthens the capacity of countries to evaluate and monitor the nutrition situation, supports knowledge transfer and provides food standards,” he said. He said the production and consumption of high quality food be achieved through investors in agriculture, regulatory frameworks, technologies and innovations. He added that food system transformation requires strong political commitment for collective synergy and a holistic design of agriculture and food chains. According to him, the agency is about to launch a match-making partnership among public and private sectors along with NGOs. He said nutrition leads to good health, productivity and an overall well-being of people and prosperity of societies. The Borno state commissioner of Animal Resources and Fisheries Development, Comrade Juliana Bitrus; said commitments to zero hunger leads to better nutrition for a happier, healthier and better life. She said emergencies across the world and Boko Haram insurgency in Northeast; lead to limited access to adequate safe food and water, as well as disruptions in health and nutritional services. According to her, hunger is a stain on human dignity.
Her words: “According to FAO, globally more than 800 million people face hunger. “FAO’s State of Food Insecurity Report published in 2019 confirms a rise in world hunger for three years running. “There were 821 million chronically undernourished people in the world in 2018. To achieve Sustainable Development Goals into Zero Hunger by 2030, all actors including government, private sector and development partners in this region must work together. “We must redefine our partnerships to reflect the contemporary realities needed to achieve this goal,” she said.