By Stephen Adeleye
The National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Kogi State chapter, on Thursday urged government at all levels and relevant stakeholders to ensure youth involvement and engagement in the transformation of food systems in Nigeria.
The Kogi NYCN Chairman, Amb. Ogohi Samuel Usman, made the called at a press conference in Lokoja, to mark the 2021 International Youth Day (IDF), and to build on the existing working relationship with Journalists.
According to Usmsn, the Kogi youth belief that youth engagement is germane to the transformation of food systems, and as such, should be incorporated into all Summit work streams and structures.
”The success of such effort will not be achieved without the meaningful participation of young people. Consumption patterns that impact one’s personal health and that of the planet are instilled early in life.
”Today, global agriculture is facing major challenges, including feeding a growing world population, the need to address rural poverty, and the management of ecosystem goods and services in light of global environmental changes, evident through climate change.
”Food systems include not only the basic elements of how we get food from farms to the table, but also all of the processes and infrastructure involved in feeding a population, and the negative externalities that can be generated during the process, such as air and ocean pollution as well as desertification.
Usman stressed that population health was also relevant in addressing food systems challenges, especially as nutrition-related chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some forms of cancer were major contributors to the global burden of disease.
He added there was also the risk of zoonotic diseases that can result from unsustainable farming practices and the climate crisis, which had been even more evident during the pandemic that had highlighted those with such chronic diseases which are at a higher risk for negative outcomes from COVID-19.
”Furthermore, the number of people affected by hunger and malnutrition has increased despite the objective of achieving zero hunger which also must be addressed within this context.
”In addition, hunger drives forced displacement and conversely forced displacement can have a devastating impact on agricultural production.
”Kogi Youth have also stressed that concrete actions, are needed, and particularly with regard to the work done around fisheries and aquaculture, as well as the key role of youth employment and entrepreneurship in small-scale farms and in rural areas.
”Today, COVID-19 is adding to the strains on our food systems, disrupting markets and supply chains for small-scale farmers around the world, threatening peace and stability particularly among the most vulnerable and marginalized populations.
”We continue to state that we are facing a health crisis and climate crisis that demands urgent changes to our food systems; business-as-usual is not an option anymore”, he said..
He, therefore advised the State Government through the state Ministry of Health, Agriculture, Youth and Sports Development and other relevant ministries and agencies should leverage and follow up with the recommendations from the arrangement of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Major Group for Children and Youth.
He further called for synergy from relevant ministries and agencies with NYCN involvement and CSOs in brainstorming on how issues surrounding inter-linkages embodied by the 2030 Agenda including poverty reduction; social inclusion; health care; biodiversity conservation; and climate change mitigation is managed and if possible tackled permanently.
He thanked His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello, for being a visionary leaders whose area of focus and achievement was to rapidly address the above concerns.
”His blueprint plans for the state caved out in the early days of his administration is what the world is focusing at now with just few areas to be adopted by His Excellency.
”We have no doubt in the capacity of the current government in infusing to it plans the resolution and action plans that would be release globally for the betterment of youth in the state, and securing the future of her citizen.
”I therefore thank the state government under the leadership of His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello for his supports towards youth in the state.
He urged everyone in the state to make themselves available and as tool towards achieving a better society we crave for..
NAN reports that IYD is celebrated every August 12, which gives an opportunity to celebrate and mainstream young peoples’ voices, actions and initiatives, as well as their meaningful, universal and equitable engagement.
This year’s theme; titled, “Transforming food systems, Youth innovation for human and planetary health” stressed the need for inclusive support mechanisms that ensure youth continue to amplify efforts collectively and individually to restore the planet and protect life..