Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Federal Government has assured Nigerians of its commitment to stamp out hunger by the year 2030 if the present tempo of agricultural activities are sustained in the country.
Speaking at a symposium to mark the 2018 World Food Day, in Abuja, with the theme, ‘Our Actions are Our Future: A Zero Hunger World by 2030 is Possible,’ on Thursday, Minister of State, Agriculture and Rural Development, Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri said, “In the next 12 years, Nigeria will join the League of Nations who would be able to feed the world.”
The minister was, however, quick to add that this projection can only be attainable if all Nigerians see and treat agriculture as serious business and not as a mere programme.
He stated that Nigeria must take advantage of its rapidly growing population to invest seriously in agriculture and that the private sector must take the lead in this project while the Government provides the enabling environment, because Government has proven to be bad business manager.
The World Food Day is celebrated on October 16 each year to commemorate the founding of the Organization in 1945. Events are organised in over 150 countries across the world, making it one of the most celebrated days of the UN calendar.
These events promote worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and for the need to ensure food security and nutritious diets for all.
Lokpobiri maintained also that the state governments must collectively demonstrate seriousness in agriculture by committing at least five percent of their budgets to agriculture, this way, the country would be able to upscale the agricultural production.
He added, “If Nigeria is able to feed itself, it would have been able to solve the issue of hunger and malnutrition in the black race and by extension Africa, which is, a bold step in guaranteeing food for all in the world.”
The minister was worried that if we do not achieve the zero hunger target, he foresaw a situation where, “people will be eating food and it will be snatched away from them forcefully by the hungry citizens.”
This is also as Lokpobiri expressed concerns that the resolve for food self-sufficiency might be hampered by the current herdsmen/farmers crises in some northern parts of the country.
Country Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Nigeria, Suffyan Koroma, stated that over the past 40 years, FAO in Nigeria, has been working closely with the Government of Nigeria to advance sustainable agriculture and food systems with great optimism towards achieving Zero Hunger in the country.