The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has advocated for proactive action to enhance access to healthy and affordable diets, to end malnutrition and hunger in the society.
FAO Director General in Nigeria, Qu Dong Yu, made the call at a symposium organised to commemorate the 2019 World Food Day, on Wednesday in Maiduguri.
The 2019 World Food Day theme: “Healthy Diets for a Zero Hunger World,” seek to encourage deliberation and actions to end hunger.
Yu, represented by Al Hassan Cisse, the Head of FAO office in Northeast, said that practical action is imperative to make healthy and sustainable diets accessible and affordable to all.
He disclosed that the organisation accorded priority to enhancing access to healthy diets to ensure total eradication of hunger and address all forms of malnutrition.
Yu lamented that available statistics indicated that malnutrition was on the increase across regions and income groups.
The director noted that effective partnerships were fundamental to promote synergy between farmers, governments, researchers, private sector and consumers to address the problem.
Yu explained that farmers need better incentives to enable them to increase and diversify their production of high quality food, while governments should adopt policies to encourage standards and regulations to prioritize the availability and affordability of safe and nutritious foods.
The FAO official called on research institutions to provide the best scientific advice that push the boundaries of knowledge and technology so as to encourage productions of products and consumables base on modern nutritional recommendations.
Yu also called for awareness creation and sensitisation activities to enable the people make informed decision on their food choices and eating patterns.
He added that: “FAO supports its member countries in their efforts to make sustainable healthy diets a reality for all.
“As a knowledge organization; FAO strengthens the capacity of countries to evaluate and monitor the nutrition situation, supports knowledge transfer and provides food standards.
“We also want to increase the production and consumption of high quality food through encouraging investment in agriculture, regulatory frameworks, technologies and innovations.
“Food system transformation requires strong political commitment for collective synergy and a holistic design of agriculture and food chains.”
According to him, the organisation would adopt Hand-in-Hand Initiative, to promote partnership between public and private sector as well as Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), to achieve the objective of the campaign.
Yu noted that nutrition indicated health, productivity, overall well-being of people and prosperity of societies, and reiterated commitments to achieve to a better and dynamic world.
Also, Ms Juliana Bitrus, the Commissioner of Animal Resources and Fisheries Development, said the state government was committed to the fight against hunger and malnutrition in the state.
Bitrus explained that Zero Hunger campaign aimed at ensuring that there is enough nutritious food for everyone to make healthy diets available to all.
She noted that the theme of the campaign was pertinent to the northeast where levels of food insecurity and malnutrition was a major concern due to the insurgency.
Bitrus, however, said that the efforts by the government and development organization have been yielding results to change trend and stressed for proactive measures to restore the wellbeing of the people.
She called for closer working collaboration between stakeholders to achieve the goal of the Zero Hunger campaign.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that highlight of activities at the event included paper presentations on nutrition and food exhibition.
The event was attended by government officials, representatives of United Nations (UN) agencies, development organisations, women groups and students. (NAN)
Edited by Ali Baba-Inuwa
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