As the World Food Day is being celebrated, the Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition Network (CS- SUNN) is urging all Nigerians to increase their overall demand for nutritious food by choosing healthy, and not allowing sustainable habits fall by the wayside.
The Executive Secretary, CS- SUNN, Beatrice Eluaka made the disclosure on the occasion of the World Food Day.
She advised Nigerians to choose to eat diverse and healthy diets as this will promote their health and wellbeing.
CS-SUNN is also urging the private sector to respect national food safety regulations and measures to protect food and reinforce good hygienic and food safety practices along the food chains, especially in rural areas.
“We are calling on the private sector to support and promote small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) to stay in business. Private sector should continue to invest in sustainable resilient food systems and ensure favourable working conditions that will promote the practice of exclusive breastfeeding”.
The group is calling for the establishment of creches in work places and the adoption of 6 months maternity leave to enable nursing mothers breastfeed their infants exclusively.
CS-SUNN emphasized that Exclusive Breastfeeding particularly for infants in the first 6 months of life remains the best start that will provide infants with adequate nutrients and protect them against childhood killer diseases.
Eluaka noted that in recent times, some significant progress has been made in improving agricultural productivity and ensuring nutrition security, food systems are still out of balance.
“Malnutrition,hunger,obesity,environmental degradation, loss of agro-biological diversity, food loss/waste and a lack of security for food chain workers are only some of the issues that underlines the imbalance.”
“Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said over 2 billion people do not have regular access to nutritious, safe, and sufficient food. The organization added that the impact of malnutrition in all its forms – undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, as well as overweight and obesity – on the global economy is estimated at USD 3.5 trillion per year.”
In the same vein, she added that the COVID-19 pandemic has made the year 2020 to be a challenging one, as it largely undermined efforts towards attaining food and nutrition security for all Nigerians.
” It deepened the challenge of accessibility to safe and nutritious foods, and saw malnutrition rates soaring in some states particularly among children.”
Eluaka pointed out that the development and implementation of Nigeria’s COVID-19 recovery plans, provides an array of opportunity to adopt innovative solutions to build back better and improve food systems, making them more resilient to emergencies.
CS- SUNN also noted that government at all levels, the Farmer, the consumer, Private Organizations, Civil Society among others all have a role to play in helping all populations, especially the most vulnerable, recover from the crisis, and to make food and nutrition systems more resilient and robust so they can withstand increasing volatility and climate changes.
The World Food Day is marked on the 16th of October, by over 150 countries including Nigeria. This commemoration promotes world-wide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and the need to ensure food and nutrition security for all.
This year’s World Food Day is calling for solidarity among all stakeholders in Nigeria- To Grow, Nourish, Sustain, Together and this requires collaborative efforts to ensure food and nutrition security for all Nigerians.