Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN has said that as the global community mobilizes resources towards addressing hunger and reducing diseases, the conversations in Nigeria and other developing countries must be all-inclusive.
This, he said would ensure that meaningful progress can be made towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals.
Prof. Osinbajo stated this in his remark delivered virtually at a dialogue on the Nigeria Food System which was organized by the United Nations.
The Vice President said “I think we must also make it clear that this summit is about the entire value chain from farm to table and all that is in between, including retailers, food processors, technology providers and financial institutions. All of these sectors are involved in the chain and so they are relevant in this summit, and all of their views have to be brought to the table.
On the significance of the summit, Prof. Osinbajo said, it addresses some of the fundamental challenges facing the country especially with the outbreak of COVID-19.
His words “the issue of developing a sustainable food system has never been more urgent and more existential. In our case, perhaps more so than in many other countries. Why? We are faced with population growth that exceeds growth figures handsomely. Poverty has deepened particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout.
“Malnutrition and unhealthy dietary practices create unique threats to health and productivity for generation after generation. So, it is a significant challenge to produce enough food for a rapidly growing population, especially given the changes required in the modernization of farming practices, mechanization and reduction of postharvest losses.”
Continuing, the Vice President said “there are also questions around ensuring environmentally sustainable production practices, creating empowering jobs and livelihoods, and building capacities to ensure sustainable and healthy food systems.
“These issues require expertise and experience but also the views of those who will literarily be at the receiving end of these plans. In other words, at this dialogues, we don’t just want to hear only the experts, we, want to hear those who are at the receiving end – those for whom all of these plans are being made. The people across all strata of society.”
Speaking further, Prof. Osinbajo explained that “the food we produce and eat, how we produce and eat, should be environmentally friendly and not destroy the environment for future generations. That seems simple enough. Aside from the inherent difficulties of recommending dietary changes, which is habit-forming and for most people, there are tough questions about what practices make sense in a high-income country and what will make sense in developing countries.”
While commending organizers of the summit for their efforts, the Vice President noted that the outcome of the dialogue “is of great consequence, because it affects us all and will determine the shape of the future.”
The national dialogue on the food system is organized by the United Nations to raise global awareness and shape global commitments towards mobilizing food systems to address hunger, reduce diet-related diseases and strengthen plenary health.