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Institute urges concerted efforts on food security

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Institute urges concerted efforts on food security

By Olasunkanmi Onifade

The Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST) on Tuesday called on relevant stakeholders to further engage in food security.

NIFST National President Professor Maduebibisi Iwe made the appeal during the 7th Regional Food Summit (REFoST)and the celebration of NIFST Day in Abuja.

The Nigeria News Agency (NAN) reports that the theme of this year’s celebration is “Repositioning the Nigerian Food System for Wealth and Job Creation in a Post COVID 19 Era”.

The President said, “We have a lot to do in this crucial area of ​​farm-to-fork product management of the field.

“Food scientists need to become more visible because at the end of the day what matters most is what different categories of people around the world are consuming for good health and life support.

“We now need to take our profession very seriously, engaging with the food industry, government, legislators and even farmers to make sure we fill the gaps and serve humanity as intended,” Iwe said.

He said food productivity could be affected in the future as well, especially if the coronavirus is not contained and lockdown measures continue.

Iwe said a number of overlapping and reinforcing dynamics have emerged and been triggered by the pandemic on food systems, food security and nutrition, including disruptions in food supply chains, loss of life. income and livelihood.

He said others included widening inequalities, disruption of social protection programs, altered food environments and uneven food prices in localized contexts.

“Additionally, given the high degree of uncertainty surrounding the virus and its course, there could be future threats to food security and nutrition.

“This will include the potential for declining food productivity and production, depending on the severity and duration of the pandemic and the measures to contain it.

“The pandemic will certainly have initial, medium and longer-term potential impacts on the consuming population. The pandemic is having adverse effects on the food supply chain.

“There have been major disruptions in food supply chains as a result of the lockdowns which affected the availability, prices and quality of food,” he said.

He also said that the closure of restaurants and other eating establishments has resulted in a sharp drop in demand for some perishable foods.

“Foods include dairy products, potatoes and fresh fruit, as well as specialty products such as chocolate and some high-value cuts of meat.

Iwe said farmers without adequate storage facilities, including cold rooms, were faced with food they couldn’t sell.

He said the flow of food through international trade channels was particularly affected by the lockdown measures.

“As borders closed and demand for certain food items declined, food producers depending on the sale of their crops through distant export markets were very vulnerable.

“Most affected were producers who focused on perishables and agricultural products such as fresh fruits and vegetables or specialty crops such as cocoa.

“During the first months of the COVID-19 epidemic, some food-exporting countries also imposed export restrictions on key staple foods, such as rice and wheat.

“This has resulted in disruptions in the global movement of these commodities as well as higher prices for these crops relative to others.

Mr. Isaac Adeyemi, the former vice-chancellor of Bells University of Technology, Ota, Ogun State, who delivered the keynote address, said that the food system is a complex web of activities involving production, transport and consumption.

He added that issues regarding the food system involved governance and economics of food production.

He however called for effective and efficient implementation of every stage of the food system, saying there should be internal planning and networking for self-sufficiency with minimal reliance on imported food, food aid and support.

Previously, Mr. Funsho Tehinse, the management consultant of Funta Services Nigeria Limited, who had attended training sessions with food business operators, advised them to be familiar with handling strong cleaning chemicals and good hygiene.

The President of the FCT section of the Institute, Ms Nkechi Ezeh, said that the Food Summit is held every year to celebrate the birth of the Institute.

She said it aimed to bring together great minds to discuss current issues affecting food safety, food security and the economy in general.

“The pandemic has had an impact on the global economy and it still has an impact. Food and food systems are not spared.
“The virus is not transmitted through food.

“On the contrary, it has created a huge opportunity for food professionals throughout the food value chain, including storage, preservation, distribution, processing, presentation, packaging and consumption. of food through the deployment of science and technology.

“This inspired the theme of this 2021 Food Summit, and it is intended to educate attendees on how to reposition food systems in order to create wealth and jobs,” she said.

NAN also reports that NIFST is a non-profit trade association, incorporated under the Companies and Related Affairs Act, representing more than 10,000 food professionals from academia, industry, government and research institutions in Nigeria. (NAA)

(NAN)

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