NIGERIA. Niger: In a bid to improve the deteriorating food systems in the country, the United Nations and the Federal government has organized a rural food systems dialogue in Niger state.
The dialogue which had stakeholders drawn from the various parts of Bida local government councils charted a pathway of how to improve nutrition security, reduce hunger and prevalence of malnutrition in the state.
The rural community food systems dialogue was organized by the IFAD assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) and the IFAD assisted Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise Programme in Niger Delta (LIFE-ND) in Bida, Niger state.
Need for Sustainable National System
Speaking at the Dialogue in Niger state, the Permanent Secretary, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Olusola Idowu said that the dialogue is being organized to identify food systems challenges and find a way towards sustainable national food systems.
She called for the need to review the food systems in the country noting that the current food system is not giving the people the results deserved.
The Permanent Secretary who was represented by a Director in the Ministry, Victor Daniel Emmanuel noted that the current food system in Nigeria has been affected by so many challenges which if not taken care of would affect food security in the nation.
Idowu, who is the National Convener of the Food Systems Dialogue said that the rural community food systems dialogue is organized to get the views of the people regarding the food systems adding that the dialogue will address the global value chain which has been disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.
“This dialogue is to capture the rural community stakeholders who at times feel neglected and often form a substantial part of the societies and in some cases almost forgotten. The rural food systems dialogue will engage grassroots stakeholders to take an aggressive approach to solve global hunger.”
The Niger state IFAD VCDP Coordinator, Dr Mathew Ahmed stressed the need for Nigerians to look at ways of developing the food system.
“Food systems are talking about the people, places and their activities and ways to bring food to the common man. It looks at ways to make food available to everyone”, he said.
He noted that the agency is working towards ensuring the nation has a good food system that will enable the nation to have food sustainability and sufficiency adding that the dialogue would further help in improving the food system in the country.
The Community Dialogue
The dialogue was attended by rural farmers, rural artisans, rural businesswomen and men, women group, health workers, value chain leaders, input service providers, religious leaders, representatives of traditional leaders, security agencies and local NGOs and Civil Society Organization.
In the communique issued at the end of the dialogue, the stakeholders agreed that action needs to be taken to end poverty while calling for a multi-stakeholder approach to waste management.
The stakeholders’ further state that practical solution to end hunger should include youth involvement in the food system, producing what you eat and engaging everyone.
What are Food Systems?
Food systems are the people, places and activities that bring food to the populace. They make food available in diverse ways that influence and shape the choices people made about what to eat, when and how.
Food systems encompass food supply chains, food environments and consumer behaviour; they are driven by factors like economics, culture, technology and demography.
Food systems contribute to countless livelihoods worldwide. In many countries, food systems continue to employ the majority of the people, through both self and wage employment.