From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday declared that the COVID-19 pandemic has further deepen poverty in the country.
This is even as he has stressed that the need to develop a sustainable food system was urgent in Nigeria because the country is currently faced with “population growth that exceeds growth figures handsomely.”
Osinbajo made this declaration in his remarks delivered virtually at a dialogue on the United Nations food systems summit.
The dialogue was organised by the UN to raise global awareness and shape commitments towards mobilising food systems to address hunger and reduce diet-related diseases among others.
Osinbajo said the UN Secretary-General, Anthonio Guterres, deserved commendation for the initiative, especially its importance in urgently achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
He said, “The issue of developing a sustainable food system has never been more urgent and more existential. In our case perhaps more so than in many other countries
“Why? We are faced with population growth that exceeds growth figures handsomely.
“Poverty has deepened particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout.
“Malnutrition and unhealthy dietary practices create unique threats to health and productivity for generation after generation.”
Osinbajo, added that it is a significant challenge to produce enough food for a rapidly growing population, especially given the changes required in modernisation of farming practices, mechanisation, and reduction of post-harvest losses.
These, he added, are also questions around ensuring environmentally sustainable production practices, creating empowering jobs and livelihoods, and building capacities to ensure sustainable and healthy food systems.
He added, “These issues require expertise and experience, but also the views of those who will literarily be at the receiving end of these plans.
“In other words, at these dialogues, we don’t just want to hear the experts, we want to hear those at the receiving end, for whom all these plans are being made – the people of the country across all strata of society.
“This brings me to the matter of ensuring that these dialogues are accessible to all, meaning that they do not become one for experts essentially ‘talking shop.’”