Looks like former President Olusegun Obasanjo is bent on making sure that Nigerians no longer have to beg for food, or starve to death.
To achieve the much-desired Sustainable Development Goals that will put an end to hunger for Nigerians by 2030, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan, Oyo State have collaborated through “Zero Hunger” project.
This was revealed at a multi-sectoral stakeholders meeting in Ibadan at the weekend where Obasanjo said the task of attaining the SDGs could not be left for the government, the civil society or the private sector alone but a collective task for all and sundry.
Leading a team of experts across the agriculture process chain and relevant government ministries and agencies, Obasanjo, who flagged off the project, said the task of providing food in sufficiency by 2030 “is going to take the collective effort of each and every citizen of this great nation and our partners.
“It will require our collective change of mindset to at first identify the opportunities that abound.”
Speaking further on the Nigeria Zero Hunger Strategy meeting, which received support from the World Food Programme, Obasanjo commended the efforts of the international community towards fighting hunger and poverty, citing efforts and gains made under the Millennium Development Goals.
Although the MDGs may not have achieved all its targets, Obasanjo said the SDGs presented Nigeria another unique opportunity to drive its development agenda and end hunger.
The former president said Nigeria’s continued import of food was unacceptable and requested that efforts be made to address the import bill.
To kick-start the project, Obasanjo told the stakeholders to come up with the roadmap on how the country would attain sufficiency in production of carrot and cucumber within 18 months.
Both crops are currently being largely imported from South Africa.
Obasanjo’s words: “It is painful, disgraceful, unacceptable that the majority of the carrot and cucumber eaten in Lagos are imported from South Africa.
“This should stop now.
“Nigeria has higher population and also has enough fertile land to grow these.”
The representative of the World Food Programme, Stanlake Samkanga, explained that unlike the MDGs, which were driven by the United Nations, the SDGs would be driven by members of state.
According to Samkanga, the SDGs will be achieved by countries themselves and the WFP/UN’s role is to support countries in achieving these goals.
“WFP’s role is to be a catalyst in a country-owned process,” he added.
The IITA Director General, Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, commended Nigerians for their willingness to drive the initiative, noting that IITA would provide the necessary support for Nigeria to achieve its target within the framework of the Zero Hunger initiative.