Nigeria has pledged its support toward the push to tackle global hunger ahead of the next Olympics in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, made the pledge at the Global Hunger Summit in London.
The summit was organised by Mr David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, as part of the activities to end the 2012 London Olympics at 10 Downing Street.
Adesina said: “Nigeria is delighted to lend support for the race to rapidly reduce malnutrition and child mortality around the world.
“We (Nigeria) have strategy to win this race. We are working to expand food supply,’’ the Europe Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted Adesina, as saying.
He said Nigeria had launched an Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) to add 20 million tonnes of food by 2015.
The minister said the ATA would focus on staple crops, fisheries and aqua-culture, livestock, diary, grain, legumes and vegetables to diversify diets and improve nutrition.
He explained that the `Save One Million Lives’ a Federal Government initiative targeted the use of community management of Acute Malnutrition and Integrated Child Feeding to reduce under nutrition in the country.
According to him, already, 200, 000 severely malnourished children are currently receiving care.
He said also that Nigeria had launched the National Policy on Food and Nutrition with Vitamin A fortification of staple foods, sugar, wheat flour and vegetable oil, sold on the market
“This race is crucial for Nigeria with 27 per cent of children underweight; 12 per cent wasted; 37 per cent stunted.
“For these children, the race for survival must be completed in a window of 1000 days.’’
Earlier, Cameron said the summit was aimed at finding new ways to tackle malnutrition and fostering innovation in biotechnology.
“I want to ensure that these Olympics also provide a lasting legacy for more children in the world’s poorest countries.
“We want to use the summit to find new ways of tackling malnutrition, fostering innovation in biotechnology, encouraging stronger cooperation between governments and ensuring better accountability by Governments who receive aid,’’ he said.
Cameron expressed the hope that for every £1 spent effectively tackling malnutrition, £30 of benefits was generated.
“This Sunday, we hope to agree on measures that will transform the lives of millions of children before the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.
“We will lay down the gauntlet to the rest of the world to take more decisive action before the 2016 Olympic Games so that many more can fulfil their potential too.”
NAN reports that dignitaries at the summit included 2012 Olympic double gold medallist, British Mo Farah, Olympic great, Haile Gebrselassie, football legend Pele and Mr Michel Temer, Vice President of Brazil.