Oyo State Governor Engr. Seyi Makinde has flagged off the Exploratory Dialogue of the United Nations Food Systems Summit in the South West Geo-Political Zone.
This is coming ahead of the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) convened by the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, scheduled to hold in September 2021.
The Federal Government of Nigeria, through Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, in collaboration with Oyo State Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, organised a dialogue series across the six Geo-Political zones in the country to tackle food security challenges.
Makinde, while delivering his address at the event, held in Ibadan on Thursday, noted that it is time to change the face of agriculture and agribusiness in the South West.
The Governor, who was represented by the Secretary to State Government, Mrs Olubamiwo Adeosun, confirmed that these are challenging times especially with the emergence of a global pandemic that shook the economies of nations, giving room to hunger, poverty and hardships.
He however noted that the issue of food supply and surplus is key to reviving the crashing economy, hence the need for emergency food response that must be sustained and well funded.
He called on all stakeholders to change the face of agriculture by ensuring the realization of 5 Action plans, which include ensuring access to safe and nutritious food for all, shift to sustainable consumption pattern, post nature positive production, advance equitable livelihoods and to build resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks and stress.
In a bid to accelerate the implementation and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals SDGs by 2030, the Secretary General of the UN will convene a summit on food systems in September 2021 to help develop the future direction of global food systems and inspire other necessary actions.
“These are challenging times, In the past one year, we have witnessed the Covid-19 pandemic and the hardbreak it infused into our societies and economies and the entire food systems.
“The pandemic threatened the very existence of life for billions of people and threw millions of families into poverty and hunger around the world.
“As we all know, the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for improved social protection and closing the gap of food security.
“Food and nutritional security, sound education as well as achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals are foundations of a decent life, it is therefore high time we built an emergency food response that must be sustained and well funded.”
He noted that as “the world population rapidly grows, we must improve our agricultural productivity and production, by 2050, we must grow 70% more food to meet up with the fast growing world population, else Nigeria will be at risk of famine and malnutrition.
“I am confident that we can create a vibrant food and agric business sector which is essential in increasing food security, tackling poverty and driving inclusive economic development. So let’s all business, public sector and the civil society live up to this responsibility by working together.
“As a government, we have marshalled various programmes to stem down the challenges of food security and engaged critical stakeholder to promote food systems in our state.
“We established the agric business development agency, upgraded the existing farm settlements to farm estates to enhance value addition to our agricultural produce, we introduced agricultural programmes for youths in other to challenge the mindset of youths and expose them to viable opportunities in agric business from a young age.”
The curator and representative from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National planning, Dr Sanjo Faniran, during his goodwill message, said food system has contributed greatly to many developmental issues and improving food systems can initiate multiple change for societal development.
The Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Barr Adeniyi Farinto, earlier in his opening remarks, disclosed that the State government, through his Ministry is processing a long term development plan, to span from 2021-2040, to address issues affecting food systems and security.
Farinto noted that the pro-activeness of the Seyi Makinde-led administration has fueled various policies and projects being executed in the different sectors.
He said, “Oyo state Government is proactive in addressing issues affecting the food systems, while various policies, programmes and projects are being executed in sectors, the State is taking more strategic approach in addressing developmental challenges by developing strategic action plan.
“I am glad to inform you all, that my Ministry is into the process of developing a long term State development plan to span from 2021 to 2040, in a couple of weeks, some of us present here today will be part of the launch of the plan and the Medium Term Sector Strategies that will drive the plan implementation.
“In the same vein, the Oyo State Committee on Food and Nutrition (SCFN), coordinated by the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning is actively complementing the efforts of the State Government to improve nutritional status for children, women and other groups in the State, we recently launched the 4-year Action Plan on Food and Nutrition, which became operational with the implementation of the year 2021 budget.”
The event was attended by some Honorable Commissioners, Permanent Secretaries, political appointees and civil servants from Oyo, Osun and Ekiti States.
The delegates during their goodwill messaged all agreed that the program was coming at such a critical and right time as Nigeria is currently facing food inflation.