From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
The Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources in Edo State held a food exhibition to mark World Food Day on Monday.
The theme of this year’s celebration is “Our Actions Are Our Future: Better production, better nutrition, a better environment and better life”.
Farmers from the 18 local government areas of the state converged on the premises of the state ministry of Agriculture to display their farm produce.
The exhibition had in attendance farmers from diverse food value chain such as Plantain, Yam, Rice, Cocoa, Garri, Oil palm, pineapple, poultry products, fish, honey, among others.
Speaking during the event, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Peter Aikhuomobhogbe said the event was organised to focus attention on Agriculture and food production and to stimulate national, bilateral, and non-governmental efforts.
Aikhuomobhogbe stated that the event was also to encourage the participation of rural people, particularly women and the underprivileged in decisions and activities that influence their lives.
‘The amount and quality of food produced in a food system, the availability of that food, and its price affect the types and qualities of food people eat, as well as the variety and nutritional quality of their diets.
‘If food systems worked well in providing consumers with diverse, nutritious, and affordable diets, people could procure their food in the market, regardless of their own agricultural productivity.
‘But among poor households in Edo State and Nigeria at large, this is not the case, the rate of food insecurity and malnutrition in these areas is severe,’ he said.
According to him, the state government has put in place an agricultural entrepreneurship (Agripreneur) Programme that is expected to create 30,000 jobs
The Chairperson of the National Coconut Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NACOPPMAN), Ambassador, Tracy Agol commended the ministry for the event.
‘The food exhibition held today is commendable. It brought together agricultural producers and products from the 18 local areas of the state,’ Agol said.
‘If we continue like this, it means that food will be sufficient for the people.’
She called on government at all levels to help tackle insecurity in the state to enable farmers to access their farms without fear of being killed or kidnapped.
In her words, we do not have food in abundance like it used to be because of insecurity. The few farm produce that are available are very expensive.
Alhaji Momodu Oshiobughie, the coordinator of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Edo North, thanked the state government for the various agricultural interventions in the state.