International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in conjunction with the Federal Government has reiterated the need to leverage food system to end poverty and achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) by 2030.
The National Agrobusiness Promotion Coordinator of Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises, Niger Delta (LIFE-ND), Mrs. Anthonia Ezenwa, disclosed this at the Rural Community Stakeholders Food Systems Dialogue in Ondo State.
She noted that food systems become important because it is the bane of significant challenges faced by the people in respect of diet-driven ill health, environmental damages, poverty and unemployment.
LIFE-ND, which was mainly sponsored by IFAD in Ondo State, organised the meeting for 40 participants in one of the 100 communities chosen for the programme in Bolorunduro Community, Akure North Local Council Area.
Ezenwa said: “Food systems are the people, places and activities that bring us food. They make food available in diverse ways that influence and shape the choices we make about what to eat, when and how.”
She explained that the initiative is taken to the rural areas in order to hear from those who are directly involved in the food system, to properly address the dynamics of achieving food security in the country.
“We are dialoguing with them to take their own contributions to the national level for policy decision making in fulfillment of the expectations from the United Nations (UN) to end poverty and food insecurity.”
State Project Coordinator, Mr. Olawale Ademola, said the FG/IFAD/NNDC/LIFE-NG programme covers all the value chain and other ancillary parts of food systems.
Aside food security and employment opportunities available in agriculture, he said it also explores the health benefits of food system to the people based on what and how they eat with emphasis to on where the food comes from.
Ademola revealed that 4,250 youths are chosen from 100 communities across 10 councils as direct beneficiaries in value chain opportunities that range from cassava and cocoa productions, poultry and fisheries.
He listed the councils as: Ilaje, Irele, Ese-Odo, Ileluji/Okeigbo, Ondo East, Idanre, Akure North, Owo, Akoko South East and Akoko South West local council areas of the state that have 10 communities each as beneficiaries.
The Chairman of Akure North LGA, Mr. Bankole Ologbese, lauded the Federal Government and other partners for the initiative, saying the model shows seriousness of the initiative unlike other projects that had come in the past with vain promises.