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UN advises countries on food system security

The United Nations (UN) has emphasized the need for attitudinal change in food system production. This, it said has become necessary in the light of the global effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Resident Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon said this while speaking at the special webinar for the press on the UN Food Systems Summit Dialogue. He said: “COVID-19 has brought to the fore the connection between food, health and quality of life, and also many of our food systems are failing us.  The pandemic has powered   an unprecedented global attitudinal change that must be channeled to transform food system to be more inclusive, more equitable and more sustainable.”

The webinar was held ahead of the National Dialogue on the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) billed for February 23. Kallon said the world needs to come up with  a food system that will produce enough for now and the future. He said: “Sustainable food system did not just happen and end hunger; we need to put in place system to ensure that we produce enough food for the current generation, without compromising the ability of the future generation to have access to adequate food and proper nutrition.

“As the population continues to grow and with the many players in the food industry, there is greater need for all of us to understand we need to ensure the availability of quality food in quantity that will cater for the needs of all people in a sustainable way.  It is in light of this that the United Nations and the government of Nigeria is bringing together key players in business, health,  tourism, media and academia, as well as farmers, women, youth organisations, consumer groups,  logistics organisations, and most importantly the media. Without the media, all dialogues could be likened to winking in the dark, no one knows what you are doing. “

Speaking on the topic, Global Food System: key Realities and Call for Action, the Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)  Fred Kafeero, stressed the importance of the dialogue on food as it offers opportunity to discuss food production through the value chain. He said: “It is very important for us to understand what food systems are all about because we are going to be talking about them for a long time to come. So, essentially talking about all processes, all individuals and actors behind them, from the time we set out to produce food: whether it is food from crops, or animals: poultry, fish, raising cattle or goats, as long as we are talking about producing food. From the time we set out to produce that food, the time that food is consumed. So, the entire system comprising of so many activities, so many actors and different processes.  Inevitably, there is an array of all intermediary processes beyond the production, including harvesting. In harvesting, what do we need to do, value addition, distribution?  Talking about the challenges of food reaching a particular area… Distribution is very important.  We are also talking about the culture of people to pursue a particular food. All these are very important, that is why the national dialogue will comprise of all range of stakeholder groups coming together in an inclusive manner so that we can reflect and re-energise .”

Earlier, while declaring the Webinar open, the National Convener of the UN Food System Summit (National Dialogue) and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Bukola Idowu , called for support from  the media for the event billed for February 23,  2021. She also called on independent stakeholders to also organize dialogues on food security.

Other speakers at the webinar include UNICEP representative, Peter Hawkins; UNDP representative, Mohammed Yahaya and  Alhaji Azeez Musibau Muyiwa of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.

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