November 23, 2019

In Nigeria, Adventist University Hosts World Food Day Event

Josephine Akarue, West-Central Africa Division, and Adventist Review

Babcock University, a Seventh-day Adventist school in Ilishan-Remo, Nigeria, lent its voice to proposed solutions to end global hunger as it hosted a 3rd World Food Day event on its campus.

In his opening statement, Babcock University president and vice chancellor Ademola S. Tayo noted that the provision of food is critical to human survival. “Lack of food would bring the world to its knees,” he said.

On behalf of Tayo, deputy vice chancellor for management services Sunday Owolabi said that in recognition of the importance of food and the role of Babcock University’s Department of Agriculture in fighting global hunger, the administration would offer rebates to cover part of the tuition of the department’s students.

Eating for Survival

Several speakers stressed how essential it is to keep making sure people have access to sources of food. In his paper “A New Approach to Addressing Hunger,” guest speaker and expert in agriculture Oluwatoyin Leshi said that the severity of hunger in Nigeria had created a situation in which many only ate for survival.

Some government officials have stated there is no hunger in the land, Leshi said, but he believes hidden hunger has reached alarming proportions nationwide, something that deserves more than casual consideration.

Quoting statistics from the Global Hunger Index, Leshi said 40 percent of children were malnourished because they lacked access to high-quality food. He also reminded the audience that 821 million people in the world do not have enough to eat, and one out of nine people goes to bed without food.

Challenges in Nigeria

Leshi also said that some political decisions might have affected the provision and price of food. According to national and international media outlets, the Nigerian government recently decided to close its borders to prevent the smuggling of goods and increase domestic production. But it is something, news agencies report, that has pushed up the price of food and inflation across the country.

“We closed our borders without being prepared for it,” he said. As a result, “the price of rice, a staple food in Nigeria, has now increased significantly.”

Leshi recommended an innovative, multi-dimensional, multi-actor, and multi-sectoral solution to global hunger. It is also necessary, he said, to put in place a global food system equipped to produce better nutritional outcomes.

“I believe it is something that can be achieved through an increase of the building capacity in food systems and research,” he said.

About World Food Day

World Food Day is an international day celebrated every year around the world on October 16 in honor of the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 1945. The day is celebrated widely by many other organizations concerned with food security, including the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agriculture Development. Each year, the special day follows a theme. In 2019 the day’s theme was “Healthy Diets for a Zero Hunger World.”

The FAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. According to its website, the goal is “to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active and healthy lives.” With more than 194 member states, FAO works in more than 130 countries worldwide.

The original version of this story was posted on the West-Central Africa Division news site.