From: Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki
A former Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, and the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), Prof. Ndowa Lale, on Wednesday, lamented the growing food insecurity in the country, and advocating the implementation of the Maputo Protocol.
They both said that the situation had caused an increase on the death rate and stunted growth of young people in the country.
Lale made the lamentation while presenting a paper at the Federal University Ndufu Alike Ikwo (FUNAI]) during the university’s first International Conference on Food Security and Hidden Hunger 2017.
He spoke on the topic: “Hidden Hunger Dynamics: Opportunities and Challenges for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.”
To salvage the situation, the Lale advocated the implementation of Maputo Protocol which among others, stipulated for the devotion of 10 per cent of the nation’s annual budget to agriculture.
His words, “African countries have stubbornly refused to allocate 10% of their national budgets to agriculture, in accordance with the Maputo Protocol. Poor government’s policies and poor credit facilities have not helped matters.”
The former minister, Prof. Chukwu, on his part, while presenting a paper on the topic “Full but not Healthy: Assessing the policies cum programmes to support food security and fight hidden hunger in Nigeria”, called on relevant authorities to rise up to the challenge before it worsens.
Contributing, the Chairman of Local Organising Committee, Prof. Johnny Ogunji, and the Vice-Chancellor of FUNAI, Professor Chinedum Nwajiuba, in their separate speeches disclosed that the goals of the conference are to assess efforts made towards food security realization; stimulate debate on hidden hunger, improve diets and raise levels of micro-nutrition.
“It is also to assess the implementation of policies and programmes that more effectively address today’s major micro-nutrition challenges; and enhance international cooperation on these challenges” he added.