Stakeholders in food industry have warned the farmers and allied experts to increase the food production in order to curb imminent food crisis in the future.

This was the resolution passed recently in an event organised by the Hope For Life Initiative, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) to mark this year’s edition of the World Food Day in Nigeria tagged ‘Safe Food Today for a Healthy Tomorrow.’

The opening event, which was held on Monday, October 17, at the Radisson Blu, Victoria Island, Lagos had various classes of participants which include market women, secondary school students, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members, business owners, government representatives and other dignitaries from the food industry.

Mr. Victor Afolabi, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Hazon Holdings was the keynote speaker while Ndidi Nwenuli was the guest speaker. The Director-General of Smedan, Mr. Olawale Fasanya, was represented by Mr. Bunmi Kole-Dawodu, the Lagos State Manager, while the Lagos State Ministry of Health was represented by the Permanent Secretary.

Other guests include Godwin Atser, the Communication and Knowledge Exchange Expert for International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) who was represented by Patrick Uchechukwu Akpu; head of Lagos office of Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr. Sam Oyeyipo, while Ms. Busiswe Diamini and Sebo represented the South African Consular General.
The keynote speaker, Afolabi spoke extensively on the topic ‘Safe Food For Healthy Tomorrow.’ Among other things, he mentioned the four pillars of food security which include affordability, availability, quality and safety, and sustainability and adaptation.

Proffering solution to the challenges, he gave the following as the way forward: adoption of smarter technologies, a lasting solution to the conflict in the Northern region, capacity-building programmes for farmers and research and innovation.

Quoting the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Afolabi said to feed the world population which will reach nine billion by 2050, food production will need to grow by 70 percent.

Also, in his presentation, Atser stated that the IITA generates agricultural innovations to meet Africa’s most pressing challenges of hunger, malnutrition, poverty and natural resource degradation.

Oyeyipo also said the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) as a Federal Government Agency was established primarily to promote the development and diversification of Nigeria’s export trade; assist in promoting the development of export-oriented industries, play a leading role in the creation of export incentives to support the export sector among others.

Mrs. Eva O. Edwards, Director of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FSAN) National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), another speaker, noted that about US$110 billion is lost each year in productivity and medical expenses resulting from unsafe food in low- and middle-income countries including Nigeria.

Speaking with the media, founder of the organisation, Kendi Aig-Imoru, pointed out that the event was inspired by the need to bring together the government sector, the corporate body, the private sector, the individual body, and to ensure that HFLI can be the voice that would create the change and achieve food security.

The project coordinator, Mrs. Emi Ebare, noted that as far back as 1945 the United Nations recognised food “as not a privilege, but a right, and that’s why they created World Food Day, observed annually on October 16, in 1979. It’s a day of observance to draw attention to the plight of the hungry. Today, Hope for life initiative is marking the day to again collectively join in the effort in eradicating hunger.”

She stressed that the main principle of World Food Day is the furtherance of food security all over the globe, especially in times of crisis.

The event, which was organised in partnership with Afrexim Bank, IITA, LASCOPA, Smedan, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian American Chamber of Commerce and Inspiration FM was adjudged to be a big success.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here