As the end of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs gradually approaches, nutritionists, and other stakeholders in the fight against malnutrition have urged government at all levels to bridge the gap between policy statements and implementation of the blueprint on nutrition.
The SDG 2 targets to end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture by 2030. Stakeholders want these targets to be mainstreamed into the States and Local Governments.
The goal is also to ensure access by all, in particular the vulnerable, to safe, nutritious, and sufficient food all year round, but the current security challenges are a threat to food security.
During a webinar, entitled: ” The UN Decade of Action on Nutrition: Connecting the Dots for Nigeria”, a Social Development Expert, Foyinsola Oyebola who identified low level of awareness of the SDGs concerning Zero Hunger and poverty in Nigeria, also noted that the COVID-19 pandemic might have changed Nigeria’s direction in attainment of the SDGs.
Oyebola explained that although SDG 2 targets to end all forms of malnutrition, Nigeria, Nigeria was seriously faced with a high level of malnutrition and insecurity that has made farmers flee their farms.
If by 2025 Nigeria is to achieve the international targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age, the country must address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons, as well as double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers among others.
Oyebola called for the democratisation of the SDGs even as she called for more coordination and collaboration amongst all stakeholders in the nutrition space to educate Nigerians on local sources of protein, where to get them and most importantly, how to prepare them such that the nutritional value is not lost, hence, the Nigerian Slogan – “Need no one behind” must be fully operational”
With a large percentage of Nigerians being farmers, she stressed the need for sustenance of agriculture and household incomes, to reduce poverty and improve nutrition.
She added that the government should reduce challenges along the agric supply chain, Improve seedlings/inputs/tools ( move from peasant farming to mechanised farming), Improved security for farmers
Corroborating her views, a Community Nutritionist/Founder, DietZia, Mr Collins Akanno lamented Nigeria faced with various nutrition problems hence, the need to adopt sustainable farming, such as home gardening.
Akanno stressed the need for Nigeria to begin to invest in agriculture and create widespread awareness of eating right.
The government should muster the political will to translate policy into action and ensure education on how best to eat, and know-how SDGs impact on their lives.
The Chief Executive Officer, Mediacraft, Associates, Mr John Ehiguese said the 17 UN SDGs are a development agenda to inspire nations and developing worlds to work towards achieving a higher quality of life for their citizens across practically all human spheres of existence.
And Good Nutrition
“Talking about nutrition the place of protein in food nutrition cannot be overemphasized. Protein challenge is a media campaign designed to create widespread awareness of protein challenges in the country. And to mobilize stakeholders to take action to mitigate it.“
He said the objective of the webinar was to highlight the SDGs 2 and tasked government on specific actions that need to be taken urgently to meet the SDGs by 2030 as well as draw attention to the local source of protein among others.
The President, Media Centre Against Child Nutrition, MeCAM, MR Remmy Nweke who noted that the government must improve access to farmlands via improved security nationwide said there also the need for government at all levels to increase health budget with emphasis on nutrition budget line, early approval, and prompt release.
He further called for a review of the school feeding programme, boost small-holder-farmers as well as encourage nutrition-related dieting at all levels.