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Food security: NIFST says policies must address 4 pillars

By Chiazo Ogbolu


Lagos  –    The Nigeria Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST) on Wednesday called for effective implementation of policies that would focus on food availability, access, utilisation and stability to achieve food security by 2020.

Mr Sunday Bamgbose, the Chairman, Lagos Chapter of the institute, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

NAN reports that achieving food security by 2020 is part of the 2020 Vision for Food, Agriculture and the Environment – an initiative of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

The programme, which was inaugurated in 1993, seeks to develop and promote a shared vision on how to meet the world’s food needs, while reducing poverty and protecting the environment.

It also seeks to generate information and encourage debate to influence positive actions by all relevant parties.

Bamgbose said: “The only way to ensure food security in the country is for the government to act right by putting in place the right policies and a conducive environment.

“In having the right policy, there is the need to have one that will impact meaningfully on the lives of the people.

“We can create a programme, give it a big name and celebrate it, but until that programme starts impacting on the people, we cannot really say we are there.

“The effect must be felt by people; one may not even make any noise, but one will see that things are working,” he said.

Bamgbose told NAN that some of well-conceived policies on food security had yet to be well implemented.

He cited the Agriculture Promotion Policy of 2016 – 2020, which was to drive the Commodity Value Chains forward, as a good effort by the government, which was not well implemented.

According to him, to achieve sustainable progress in food security, the four pillars of availability, access, utilisation and stability should be maintained.

“Availability is not about physical presence; we are talking about being in the right place at the right time.

“If food is available in one remote farm while people who need it are scattered in other places, and for one reason or the other, getting to them is a problem, we cannot say that food is available.

“Access has to do with people having the power to assess the food.

“Stability has to do with food not just being available or accessible and well utilised, but being available all the time,” he said.

Bamgbose said job loss, and the herdsmen/farmers clash could affect food security.

He advised that all stakeholders should be part of formulation and implementation of policies on food security.