Re: The e-Consultation on Hunger, Food and Nutrition Security

John Baaki Women Environmenal Programme, Nigeria

CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES OF ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY AFTER 2015 The Millenium Development Goals expire 2015 but national governments with their economies continue to exist beyond that. Whether the MDGs will be renewed or given another name entirely, the goal will still be similar to what we have at present. The very first goal of the MDGs which seeks to eradicate extreme hunger and poverty is a goal that will be pursued as long as people continue to dwell on the planet earth. Achieving food security is putting the right structures in place that will ensure the production, processing and distribution of the right type, quantity and quality of food. In as much as everyone eats food, the duty of ensuring food security is that of national governments. The major area I see as a great challenge and which will be a good opportunity for food security is the development of rural infrastructure. More than half of the food produced in any developing country is produced in the rural areas. The youths and women make up to 70% of the farming population in Nigeria for example. Unfortunatly recently, there is mass migration of the youths from the rural areas to urban areas to take up non agricultural profession leaving agriculture in the hands of the aged. This is evident in the fall in food production and exportation recently than compared to what was obtainable in the 1960s-1980s. Government programs on agriculture do not address the rural areas seriously, hence the sustained migration. My opinion as a development worker working with women and youths in the rural areas is that, food security programs should not dwell on provision of farm equipment and seeds or training and incentives alone. Any food security program or policy that does not target the development of critical rural infrastructure is bound to fail. In my opinion, if rural areas are opened up alone, every other aspect of food security will naturally take shape. In addition to that, agro-processing industries should be located in rural areas to give value to their produce. This is the only thing that will keep the farming population back in the rural areas. Develp rural infrastructure and every other thing will follow if food security must be achieved