BY REMILEKUN DARAMOLA in Maiduguri•
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has called for immediate action at ensuring that healthy and sustainable diets are made accessible and affordable to all.
The Director General of FAO, Qu Dong Yu in a speech marking the 2019 World Food Day on Wednesday, while lamenting that latest data shows that malnutrition is increasing across all regions and income groups on the globe, said this calls for urgent action.
Reading the speech of the Director General at an occasion with theme: “Healthy Diets for a zero hunger world” in Maiduguri to commemorate the World Food Day in the North East, the FAO Head of Office, North East, Mr. Alhassan Cisse, said there is need to address all forms of malnutrition.
He said this year, World Food Day focuses on Healthy Diets, noting that “eradicating hunger is FAO’s top priority, but we also need to address all forms of malnutrition.”
He said in order to make healthy and sustainable diets accessible and affordable to everyone, partnerships are fundamental, stressing that: “Farmers, Governments, researchers, the private sector and consumers, all have a role to play.”
He added that: “Farmers need better incentives to increase and diversify the production of high quality food.
“Governments need to adopt policies, food standards and regulations that prioritize the availability and affordability of safe and nutritious foods.
“Research Institutions need to provide the best scientific advice and push the boundaries of knowledge and technology. The private sector can positively influence the food environment by adapting its products to modern nutritional recommendations.
“Individuals also need to think about their food choices and eating patterns through awareness and learning. FAO supports its member countries in their efforts to make sustainable healthy diets a reality for all.”
The Director General said: “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 investors 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.
“This is among the main objectives of the Hand in Hand Initiative we are about to launch for match-making partnership among public and private sectors along with NGOs.
“For FAO, nutrition indicates health, productivity /and overall well-being of people and prosperity of societies.”
He appealed for commitment to a better nutrition in order to allow for a happier, healthier and better life.
In her goodwill message, the Borno State Commissioner of Animal Resources and Fisheries, Mrs. Juliana Bitrus said the state remained committed to addressing hunger in northeast Nigeria.
She said the fight against hunger and malnutrition is both national and global.