L-R– Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; Dr Kenton Dashiell, IITA Dep. DG, Partnerships for Delivery; and Prof Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health during the Nigeria Zero Hunger Meeting at IITA Ibadan…on Friday
By Abdallah el-Kurebe
The Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Ibadan on Friday held a stakeholders meeting in order to draw a roadmap to end hunger in Nigeria by the year 2030.
The Nigeria Zero Hunger Strategy meeting, which received support from the World Food Program, was organized in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) that seeks to end hunger by 2030.
Convener of the meeting and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, said that the task of attaining the SDGs could not be left for the government alone; neither could it be left for the civil society nor the private sector.
A statement by IITA quoted him as saying, “It is going to take the collective effort of each and every citizen of this great nation and our partners. It will require our collective change of mindset to at first identify the opportunities that abound.”
While commending the efforts of the international community towards fighting hunger and poverty, the former president cited efforts and gains so far made under the Millennium Development Goals, adding that although the MDGs mighy not have achieved all its targets, the SDGs had presented Nigeria with another opportunity to drive its development agenda and end hunger.
Obasanjo observed that Nigeria’s continued import of food was unacceptable and requested that efforts be made to address the import bill.
The Representative of the World Food Program, Stanlake Samkanga explained that unlike the MDGs, which were driven by the United Nations, the SDGs would be driven by members of state.
According to him, the SDGs would be achieved by countries themselves, and the WFP/UN ‘s role was to support countries in achieving these goals. “WFP’s role is to be a catalyst in a country –owned process,” he added.
IITA Director General, Dr Nteranya Sanginga commended the Nigerian people for their willingness to drive the initiative while promising that IITA would provide the necessary support for Nigeria to achieve its target within the framework of the Zero Hunger initiative.
A Director with the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Chiji Ojukwu expressed the commitment of the Bank to initiatives that would help Africa to feed itself. He added that the Bank was ready to work with Nigerian authorities in the Nigeria Zero Hunger process, through the commodity value-chain to end hunger and poverty.
About 50 key participants from government, ministries, development organizations, international entities, and public and private sectors attended the strategic meeting.