The United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres called on World Leaders to convene national Food Systems Dialogues as part of the Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The Global Summit is to launch bold new actions to deliver progress on all 17 SDGs, each of which relies to some extent on healthier, more sustainable, and equitable food systems. The Nigeria National Food System Dialogues is holding at 3 levels prior to the global Summit planned to take place in September 2021 and the dialogues will be guided by 5 Action Tracks namely:
Action Track 1: Ensuring Access to Safe and Nutritious Food for All
Action Track 2: Shift to Sustainable Consumption Patterns
Action Track 3: Boost Nature-Positive Production
Action Track 4: Advance Equitable Livelihoods
Action Track 5: Build Resilience to Vulnerabilities, Shocks and Stresses

The Inception Dialogue took place on the 23rd February, 2021 and the purpose of the meeting was to initiate an inclusive process through which stakeholders can be engaged in and contribute to developing pathways to sustainable national food systems. The exploratory dialogue is expected to harvest information from stakeholders and also put forward outcomes and recommendations that will advance the Food Systems in the region by 2030.
The Enugu State Exploratory Dialogue is the second out of two dialogues hosted in the South-East as part of the UN Food Systems Summit. Stakeholders were pulled from ministries of Budget and Planning, Health, Agriculture, Commerce and Industry, Education as well as other government MDAs. Partners and stakeholders such as representatives from UN Agency, academia from various institutions of learning, private Sector, Civil Society, Farmer Groups, Women Groups and Parliament were in attendance.

The South-East food system is characterized by agricultural livelihood activities such as crop production and livestock production. Food waste and loss is also high in the region leading to food insecurity, hunger and loss of income for farmers. The South-East has actively processes cash and staple crops such as rice, cassava, oil palm. Food consumption is below recommendations and diets are not diversified in the same vein, malnutrition rates are slightly higher than international average. Adoption of climate smart agricultural practices is low and the region faces climate change effects such as seasonal flooding and soil erosion. Actors involved in the food system in the South-East States include farmers and farmer groups, trader associations, processors, government, private sector, nutrition and health workers and extension (community health and agriculture) workers.
The major focus of the south-east dialogue was to drive discussion on reshaping the food systems in the south east to achieve the sustainable development goals by 2030 taking into consideration the challenges in the system. Identifying key drivers of the food systems particular to Imo State and also making outcomes and recommendations for the advancement of the Food System in the South Est and Nigeria as a whole.

a. Opening Session
Participants self-introduced themselves and The Honourable Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Hon. David Ugwunta delivered an opening remarks where he welcomed participants and congratulated the United Nations for the initiative which is the Food Systems Summit and the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning for working to ensure a robust food-system discussion not just at the federal level. He also welcomed the out of state stakeholders and the facilitators for taking time to attend the meeting.
Goodwill messages were delivered by Commissioner of Health, Commissioner for Agriculture and Commerce; Permanent Secretary Ministry of Budget and Planning, Anambra State and also representatives of Development Partners (FCDO)

b. Technical Session
The technical session commenced with an introduction of the Technical sessions by the curator, Nkeiruka Enwelum from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, who gave an overview of the food systems, the Global Food Systems Summit, activities which have been carried out so far at the Nigeria on the Food Systems Summit and also provided context on the discussions in the breakout sessions. The facilitators led break out groups to discuss the various action tracks. The facilitators and their corresponding action tracks which they handled are:

Action Track Facilitator
Action Track 1: Ensuring Access to Safe and Nutritious Food for All Prof. Ngozi Nnam
Action Track 2: Shift to Sustainable Consumption Patterns Prof. Gabrial Okafor
Action Track 3: Boost Nature-Positive Production Prof. Onwumere
Action Track 4: Advance Equitable Livelihoods Prof. Benjamin Marire
Action Track 5: Build Resilience to Vulnerabilities, Shocks and Stresses Dr. Maria Odey

The facilitators and group rapporteurs gathered discussion outcomes which were presented to the audience and also compiled into the communiqué which was presented to the stakeholders for their approval.

a. South East experience shocks and stresses such as flooding, soil erosion and more recently bouts of insecurity
b. The insecurity in the region due to farmer-herder clashes have resulted in reduced agricultural activity
c. Agricultural development in the region has some innovation ongoing but need to be upscaled
d. Consumption of healthy diets needs focus on production and availability of healthy and safe foods
e. Consumer education is important to instruct and inform consumers
f. Budgetary release of funds for capital projects is low
g. Anambra state is currently innovating in zero interest loans to farmers
h. States are reprepared for agricultural and nutritional self sufficiecny

– Inclusiveness in the food system through access to productive input along the food system
– Infrastructural development
– Address access to input such as land by reviewing the land use act and introduce interest free loans to small farmers
– Partnership and collaboration across sectors and governance
– Cattle ranching in the area and legislation against open grazing
– Regulation/removal of taxes and charges on local agricultural products
– Insurance of farms and agricultural goods
– Awareness creation and consumer engagement on improved consumption of nutritious local foods
– Widespread consumer education through schools, hospitals, markets etc
– Research on and propagation of slowly dying/extinct foods
– Establish a criteria and procedure for determining vulnerability in the region
– Diversification of food production
– Strengthening the market board to regulate food prices for consumer and producer protection
– Collective agreement by the region to collaborate and share lessons
– Social protection mechanisms to improve resilience to shock
– Need to organize rural farmers for access to larger markets
– Use of old methods of preservation
– Strengthening of multi-level engagement of food safety regulatory agencies
– Development of some guidelines for food consumption

– Community action
– Team work
– Policy formulation
– Synergy
– Partnership
– Strengthening of extension system
– Private Sector Collaboration
– Adaptation to climate change
– Investment in Food and Agriculture
– Good governance
– Infrastructural improvement


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