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World Food Day: GAIN advocates improved investment in agriculture sector

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The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), a non-profit organisation, has advocated for an increase in the budgetary allocation to the country’s agriculture sector.

Dr Michael Ojo, Nigeria’s Country Director of the organisation said this in a statement on Friday to commemorate the World Food Day.

The theme for this year’s celebration is; “Grow, Nourish, Sustain, Together”.

According to Ojo, “projections indicate we will have over 400 million Nigerians by 2050, so, we work to control our population to more manageable numbers over the coming years.

“Yet, we will no doubt have an increasing number of mouths to feed. There is no more compelling call to action than this.

“Nigeria has to invest much more in critical infrastructure to support agricultural production and getting produce to internal and external markets.

“Reducing its budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector as it did by 20 per cent from N173 billion in 2018 to N138 billion in 2019 implies the government is not taking the quest to attain food security seriously,” he said.

Ojo advised that the migration of young people from agriculture must be curtailed, to enable the country’s food systems meet up with the quantity and quality of food needed as a nation.

“For this to happen, agriculture must become a more attractive source of meaningful and sustainable income.

“Our food system must support and reward the deployment of innovation and technology.

“From Agri-Tech to Fin-Tech and broad-based ICT, technology will unleash youth entrepreneurship and bring forward new solutions to a range of perennial value chain, environmental, nutritional, and livelihood issues.

“This includes seed availability, resource use, poor yields, post-harvest loss, market linkages, food safety, and demand creation for nutritious foods,” he said.

The country director said that smallholder farmers and SMEs operating at different points in the food system must be able to access repayable finance in a sustainable way.

He also noted that accurate data is required for the country to have a good starting point in expanding its productivity in the food systems.

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