• BATNF supports farmers • More than 821 million people starve around the world
• Ambode repeats commitment to economic diversification
• Stanbic IBTC allocated N50b to support agriculture
Signs of food insecurity around the world mean that by 2030, significant work remains to be done towards the goal of a sustainable hunger "zero hunger". New data suggests that the number of hungry people in the world is growing, reaching 821 million in 2017 or one in every nine people, according to the recently published “State of food security and nutrition in the world in 2018.”
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Program (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO), to achieve a world without hunger and malnutrition in all by 2030, it is imperative to accelerate and intensify actions to strengthen the resilience and adaptive capacity of food systems and people's livelihoods in response to volatility and extreme events imat.
The situation is worsening in South America and most regions of Africa, calling for the joint efforts of all stakeholders in the agricultural sector to work in harmony in order to eventually put an end to all forms of hunger and malnutrition. To this end, the British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATNF) held the Lagos Farmers Fair in the morning, in collaboration with the government of Lagos, to mark World Food Day 2018.
The fair, held at the police park, Ikeja GRA Lagos, is an initiative within the BATNF's “Wealth Here” campaign, which aims to provide market access for farmers and provide an income-generating platform to encourage Agric-business development.
It was a mini-agricultural festival, as it witnessed the unification of farmers in 57 council areas where agricultural products, ranging from crops, animal husbandry and aquaculture, were displayed. BATNF Executive Director Abimbola Okoya, as a country, Nigeria did not have a significant impact of hunger, because he was blessed with arable agricultural land, fertile and suitable for growing food crops, as well as one of the largest producers of cassava, yam, sweet potato, cashews and peanuts, but much of them are either lost or lost due to poor farming practices or limited access to the market.
“The scale of the rudimentary farming method makes it difficult for these farmers to access credit lines to increase their production or competition in the modern food value chain. With poor access to infrastructure, inputs and markets, they are one of the most vulnerable groups in the value chain.
“Hunger and malnutrition are not limited to the quality of food produced. People living with food insecurity do not have the stable, reliable means of getting the food they need. This is often due to loss of income. For small farmers, there is a business opportunity to increase their incomes, moving from subsistence to commercial agriculture, but they face several limitations, ”she said.
Okoya noted that the fair should have provided a platform for providing farmers with opportunities in the city without financial burden or risk, adding that it would help the public to access fresh and environmentally friendly agricultural products and encourage farmers to switch from low-quality bulk to high-value agricultural products. .
She said that since its inception in 2002, BATNF has supported federal and state governments in agricultural development programs and invested around N1.5b in support of rural small farmers in the production of food crops such as cassava, rice and maize; and in aquaculture and animal husbandry.
“So far, we have reached more than 36,000 farmers, and by 2022 our goal is to support 62,000 rural farmers.” Human Resources Director, British American Tobacco, Nigeria, Temitop Akinyanya, said the company recognizes the fact that 64 percent of the population lives in rural communities, and he is committed to the continued funding of the Fund to fulfill its mandate in support of sustainable agriculture and who live in rural communities.
The governor of the state of Lagos, Mr. Akinvunmi Ambode, who was represented by the secretary of the state government, Mr. Tundji Bello, reaffirmed the state’s commitment to diversifying the economy in order to revitalize the agricultural sector. He said: “I want to emphasize that Lagos State Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, has developed initiatives to eliminate the need to diversify the economy, a recent breakthrough in rice agribusiness, given the cooperation between the Lagos and Kebbin states in large-scale production, processing and distribution of the LAKE Rice product, created a landmark in economic diversification, ”he said.
He noted that next year the rice production plant, which will start operating next month, was acquired by the state to ensure that Lagos meets the demand for the LAKE Rice product.
Earlier, Agriculture Commissioner Hon Oluvatoyin Suarau said that the government is ready to overcome all the problems threatening the availability of food in the state, stressing that food production is a government strategy used to combat unemployment and promote youth empowerment.
Nenna Okoro from Stanbic IBTC said that her bank plays a vital role in encouraging farmers, noting that it has a special office, adding that the N50b was designed to support farmers in lending to farmers to help players in this sector . noted that they are collaborating with the BATNF and the state government of Lagos to encourage youth with credit lines.