The Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) on Wednesday said there were both hunger and malnutrition in the country.
CS-SUNN which also decried the state of obesity among people in the nation appealed to Nigerian government to commit more resources into tackling hunger and malnutrition.
The organization explained that amidst hunger and malnutrition in the country, many people remained obese because of their fondness for processed foods.
At an event to commemorate 2019 World Food Day in Abuja, the organization emphasized the need for Nigeria to accelerate progress towards eliminating hunger in all forms, including malnutrition by 2030 to enable the nation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Two – which targets Zero Hunger.
The theme of the event was “Our Action, Our Future: Healthy Diet for a Zero Hunger World.”
Food security and nutrition could be considered a criterion for sustainable development as they are directly related to SDG 2 (Zero Hunger) and indirectly related to the other SDG’s, said Beatrice Eluaka, Executive Secretary, CS-SUNN at the event.
Mrs Eluaka said Nigeria had the highest burden of stunting in Africa. She linked malnutrition to poor infant and young child feeding practices and hunger.
“This results in high rates of childhood illnesses, poor cognitive development, leading to poor educational performance, poor workforce and in the long run, economic loss for the country,” the organization stated.
Mrs Eluaka added: “Presently, over 670 million adults and 160 million children suffer from obesity, while over 820 million people suffer from hunger worldwide.”
She called for behavioural change among the people in the country as one of the ways to addressing the problems of obesity, hunger and malnutrition.
According to a yearly United Nation (UN) report “Greening the Blue,” zero hunger could save the lives of 3.1 million children yearly; well-nourished mothers have healthier babies with stronger immune systems; ending child under-nutrition could increase a developing country’s Gross Domestic production by 16.5 percent..
CS-SUNN called on goverment at all levels to increase investments in nutrition and fully implement the National Multi-Sectoral Plan of action for Food and Nutrition, as according to the organization, it would improve nutrition interventions, nutrition education and address issues around breastfeeding friendly policies.
Besides, it would help farmers diversify food production, guide public food production, guide public food procurement and regulations on food marketing, labelling and advertising policies amongst others.
The World Food Day celebration aims at sensitizing citizens, corporation organizations, food industries and governments that dietary choices, from the products we consume individually have great effects on our well-being.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture, Sabo Nanono had said three days ago about hunger in Nigeria: “I think we are producing enough food to feed ourselves. There is no hunger in the country and when people talk about hunger, I just laugh because they do not know hunger. They need to go to other countries to know what hunger is all about.
“If you say I miss my breakfast and I get lunch and dinner, then that is all right… part of the problem of overweight is not necessarily the issue of a balanced diet, but some of us stay put without knowing that Nigeria used to be a former zone for migration in the sub-Sahara Africa.
“The problem of obesity is not necessarily the issue of a balanced diet but because some of us just decide to stay without doing exercise often.”