The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in partnership with the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), has urged the Federal Government to be proactive in responding to food crises in the country.
Katrina Kosec, Senior Research Fellow, IFPRI, made this known on Thursday, at the Presentation of IFPRI’s 2023 Global Food Policy Report, and the Launch of CGIAR Research Initiative on Fragility, Conflict and Migration (FCM), in Abuja.
Kosec said in 2022, the world faced crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, civil unrest, political instabilities, and climate change, among others.
She said IFPRI had offered critical evidence to support effective policies and programming to enhance food, land, and water systems’ resilience in fragile and conflicts affected countries, and those facing migration-related challenges.
Kosec maintained that improving international and national responses to food crises, could not be done without accountable governance, effective institutions in place, policies, programming, and reliable funding, to ensure immediate needs and long-term resilience, were addressed.
According to her, there is a need for effective governance at all levels, to tackle early disaster warnings and have in place anticipatory action and policy responses that were sustainable and responsive to the drivers of these crises.
“I think having a critical social protection system in which people that are facing challenges have sources of support from their government to help them graduate from poverty, is necessary.
“It is also important for governments to listen to the needs of their citizens; it is critical to ensure that the voices among those citizens include women and other vulnerable groups.
“We additionally need very good systems that provide early warnings when crises are going to hit, and ensuring that those systems are connected with actions, and planned actions are essential,” she added.
Kosec said though the Nigerian government was seriously working to address these gaps, however, more needed to be done as poverty persisted.
The Minister of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) Dr Muhammad Abubakar, said the government and the humanitarian community had been implementing life-saving interventions such as social welfare, livelihood engagement stimulation, and environment safety.
Abubakar, who was represented by Ibrahim Tanimu, Director of Planning and Policy Coordinator, (FMARD), said the government would continue to encourage national and international support, aimed at mitigating insurgency, reactivating infrastructure, restoring businesses, and reawakening livelihoods.
The minister said these strategies were to conserve the environment, provide rural infrastructure, strengthen research capacity, expand extension services, raise agricultural productivity, enhance the commodity value chain, and promote agribusiness.
Kate Ambler, Senior Research Fellow, IFPRI, said that the initiative would focus on building climate resilience, protecting gender equity, and fostering social inclusion.
Ambler said the CGIAR research Initiative on FCM, would focus on innovative social protection, Food systems development, and climate adaption programs in fragile settings, and among migrant populations.