Soludo Backs Regenerative Agriculture, Food Banks As Solution To Affordable Food

Anambra State governor, Chukwuma Soludo says regenerative farming will ensure safe, nutritious, and affordable food for every household if imbibed.

The governor stated this when he spoke at the southern geo-political zonal consultation workshop on the development of the implementation strategy for the food systems transformation pathways for Nigeria, in Awka, Anambra State capital.

Soludo who was represented by his chief of staff, Earnest Ezeajughi, said that establishment of food banks will greatly address food scarcity and provide safe and affordable food for citizens of different demography.

He described food banks as a global practice that helps preserve food and ensure availability of food, especially for the middle and low-income members of the society.

The workshop was organised by the Anambra State Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning (MB&EP) and Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, with the support of WFP, FAO, IFAD, GAIN, and AGRA.

Also speaking at the workshop, the Commissioner for MB&EP, Chiamaka Nnake, said the workshop focused on strengthening food systems across the southern region of Nigeria.

According to her, the purpose of the workshop was to define and project key pathways for improving the present food systems, starting from the production to final consumption stage.

Nnake said, “We are driving this transformation exercise to create healthier, more sustainable, and equitable food systems that will ensure food security and optimal nutrition for all citizens.

“In Anambra, we understand the critical role that food systems can play in supporting the growth of our economy and the livelihood of Ndi-Anambra. To this end, we are leveraging on the strengths and opportunities that exist within our agriculture and agro-processing sectors.

“We have implemented a few food systems-related initiatives such as the regenerative agricultural policy, distribution of coconut and oil palm seedlings, distribution of farm inputs, amongst others.

“We implemented these initiatives to ensure that our food production activities have very limited impact on our natural environment, the health of Ndi-Anambra, and even the general populace.

Also speaking, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Forster Ihejiofor, commended the initiative behind the workshop, in view of the role that leaders of the southern region of Nigeria can play in driving sustainable development, and nutrition for all citizens.

He said, “the UN food systems transformation agenda is an ambitious plan aimed at transforming global food production and consumption systems to ensure sustainable food security, improved nutrition, and economic development while also protecting the environment.

“Today’s summit is timely and essential as we seek to domesticate this agenda in the 17 states in the south of Nigeria. It is vital that we develop a comprehensive and tailored approach that reflects our unique needs, challenges, and opportunities.

“We must prioritise sustainable agriculture practices that improve productivity, reduce waste, and protect the environment while also enhancing food security and nutrition.”

The keynote speaker, Engineer Nebeolisa Anako, Permanent Secretary, Budget and Planning, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (FMBNP), lauded the timing and essence of the consultation as it will birth “an inclusive and jointly-owned implementation Strategy for  a robust implementation of the food systems transformation pathways in Nigeria taking into consideration various professional, technical and socio-economic positions of the stakeholders.”

Anako who was represented by Engineer Okechukwu Ezekwesili, added that, “it is important to note that the Food System Transformation Agenda is not a Federal Government programme, but one that calls for concerted efforts from everyone, including the states, local government, private sector, development partners and the citizens as food security is a critical aspect of live and survival. It is therefore incumbent on all of us to work collaboratively to ensure adequate food and nutritional security.”

In his address, Sanjo Faniran, the national convener and the director, social department, federal ministry of finance, budget and national planning, Abuja, said that food systems transformation is non-negotiable for progress and development in Nigeria. He noted that the pathway towards significant transformations of the Nigeria food system requires smart partnership and strong political will as well as right policies, governance and business models.

Obiajulu Joel Nwolu

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