Stakeholders want private sector partnership on food security

Tackling the growing problem of food insecurity and malnutrition in the country was at the front burner when stakeholders met during the SUN Business Network Annual Meeting held in Lagos on Friday.

The event was themed ‘Building a National Collaborative Mechanism for Nutrition in Nigeria: A Catalyst for Change.’

Speaking during the, the Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, Lawrence Haddad, said the battle against food security and malnutrition must be intentional, deliberate and in consonance with the realities of the lower class of society.

“The scaling up nutrition network is helping solve the cost of living crisis by producing nutritious food at affordable prices by using things like smaller packet sizes and shorter values chains to reduce the costs.

 

On his part, the National Director of the SUN Business Network, Tomisin Odunmbaku, emphasised on the need for concerted efforts and strategic partnerships to accelerate meaningful progress in making affordable, healthier food available and accessible.

He said, “Recent data from the National Bureau of Statistics paints a sobering picture of the nutritional landscape in Nigeria. With 133 million people classified as multidimensionally poor and over 100 million children lacking adequate intellectual stimulation, nutrition remains a fundamental driver of poverty across all regions.

“Despite investments and interventions, malnutrition indicators have unfortunately worsened over the past decade. This underscores the urgent need for collective action, with private sector, including the 39 million SMEs in Nigeria and our esteemed 397 SBN members, playing a crucial role.”

The Country Director, GAIN, Michael Ojo, said that a wide range of issues such as climate change and insecurity had negatively impacted food production in the country.

He said, “We have a hostile food crisis on our hands. Locally, there’s still opportunities for people to consume foods that they’ve forgotten about or moved away from because of the focus on staples like rice that everybody wants to eat every day.”

On Thursday, the Federal Government ruled out the importation of food as part of strategies to address the high costs of foodstuffs and the economic hardship troubling the country.

It also set up a committee comprising the National Security Adviser, the Director-General of the Department of State Services, and the Inspector-General of Police to clamp down on traders hoarding grains.

This formed part of the resolutions reached at Thursday’s emergency meeting between President Bola Tinubu, Vice President Kashim Shettima, and state governors at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.

<<Punch>>