The Federal Government on Thursday restated its commitment to the goal of achieving zero hunger in the country by the year 2030, promising to sustain the ongoing agricultural activities in the country in order to achieve food security.
The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, made the commitment while speaking at a Symposium to mark the 2018 World Food Day Celebration with the theme ‘Our Actions are Our Future: A Zero Hunger World by 2030 is Possible’ held in Abuja.
Lokpobiri, who maintained that the zero hunger by 2030 target was feasible pointed out that “in the next 12 years, Nigeria will join the League of Nations who would be able to feed the world”, adding that this projection can only be attained if all Nigerians identify agriculture as serious business rather than mere occupation.
To achieve the dream, he canvassed the need for Nigeria to take advantage of its rapidly growing population to seriously invest in agriculture, with the private sector taking the lead, while the government continues to provide the enabling environment for agriculture and agribusiness to thrive on a sustainable basis.
In addition, Lokpobiri charged all state governments also to commit at least five percent of their annual budgets to agriculture, to demonstrate their collective determination to grow agriculture and upscale national productivity.
While commending Kebbi, Ebonyi, Zamfara, Ogun, Benue states, amongst others for their investments in agriculture, he urged other states to emulate the examples of the mentioned states since the goal of achieving zero hunger in the country can only be achieved through collective efforts.
According to the minister, if Nigeria is able to feed itself, it would have been able to solve the issue of hunger and malnutrition in the black race and by extension Africa, which is, “a bold step in guaranteeing food for all in the world.”
Noting further that development of agriculture has led to decline in the number of the poor and the hungry people globally, he however lamented that this success was being threatened by rising global population.
Lokpobiri expressed concerns also on recent between herdsmen and farmers in some northern parts of the country which, he noted, constituted serious threat to the nation’s drive for self sufficiency in food production.
He said: “Prolonged crisis in some crises points, especially incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the North Eastern part of the country are also serious issues of concern.”
In her remarks, the Country Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Nigeria, Suffyan Koroma, explained that for the past forty years in Nigeria, the FAO had been working closely with the Nigerian government to promote sustainable agriculture and food systems.
Koroma explained that achieving zero hunger remained FAO’s shared commitment, which can be achieved through a right based approach.
He commended the Federal Government for building strong partnerships for nourishing, nurturing and growing a prosperous and peaceful country where all Nigerians can thrive and contribute to national socio-economic development.
The World Food Day is celebrated each year on 16th of October in commemoration of the establishment of the United Nations Organization in 1945.
On the day, events are organized in over 150 countries across the world, to attract global attention and promote awareness as well as marshal action plans internationally to ensure food security and nutritious diets for all making it one of the most celebrated days of the UN calendar.