As part of the initiative to develop national pathways for food systems transformation, Nigerian Government has engaged with numerous stakeholders over the past several months to understand their food systems experiences and needs.
Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, stated this at the Pre- Summit of the United Nations Food Systems Summit held in Rome from 26 – 28 July, 2021.
Agba said a total of 40 dialogues with 26 of the dialogues had been convened by the Nigerian Government, and 14 independent dialogues by non-state actor groups.
He said key priorities that had been identified, which had become the ambition around the National Food Systems included delivery of high incomes and reduction of poverty among smallholder farmers, empowerment of women and youth to have greater access to food, production resources and/or processing inputs, greater involvement in decision making and increased asset ownership, reduction in price of nutritious foods, development of guidelines that educate the public on healthy diets and food choices as well as formulation by industries and the development and deployment of early warning systems in environment and social-cultural shocks.
Agba said to ensure that transformative pathways appropriately targeted population groups with the most potential to benefit from them, the Nigerian Government was in the process of developing a subnational food systems dashboard that would describe and diagnose the food system in each of Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
According to him: “We are reviewing our existing policies, strategies, and legislations, rooted in a new narrative for our national food systems to better situate a range of game-changing considerations, and build in more entry points for the necessary enabling environment to ensure adequate structural frameworks for food systems transformation.
“We have also commenced discussions to establish, integrate and institutionalize a food systems transformation support facility that will be linked to financial instruments and provide technical assistance and coordination for implementing transformative actions.
“As we work to transform our food systems and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda, we hope to learn from and collaborate with Member States that have grappled or are grappling with food systems concerns similar to ours.
“We especially support the emerging coalitions of actions around zero hunger, children’s diets and nutrition, sustainably meeting food and nutrition demands, food safety, and data.”
He added that the Nigerian Government expected to engage with the solution clusters connected to these coalitions in the weeks leading up to the summit and would be taking a closer look at the solution clusters to refine the immediate next steps, including actions to strengthen the country’s human resource capacity for food systems transformation.
Agba said the Government of Nigeria acknowledged the giant step by the Secretary General and his team to convene a global Food Systems Summit as a pivotal event in galvanizing momentum towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and that the Nigerian government intended to leverage on this momentum to trigger a renewed commitment to the SDGs and accelerate progress.
According to him: “The world and especially our country are facing a significant food system challenge. Transforming our food systems is therefore a critical issue confronting the world today, including Nigeria.
“This is in addition to challenges such as insecurity, poor infrastructure, lack of access to water and proper sanitation.
“The poor and the vulnerable including women, girls and youths suffer greatly from these, also exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”