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Nigeria not yet at food sufficiency destination – Jonathan

By on June 20, 2013

President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday admitted that his administration had yet to reach the desired destination in its quest to eradicate hunger in the country through food sufficiency.

He, however, expressed the conviction that the task would be achieved.

Jonathan spoke when the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, presented a United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation’s award received by Nigeria to the President shortly before the commencement of the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Nigeria and 37 other nations had been honoured by the organisation for efforts aimed at reducing the number of people living in absolute hunger by half, well ahead of international targets for the year 2015.

The country was presented with a diploma award for meeting the Millennium Development Goal 1 by the Director-General, FAO, José Graziano da Silva, during the week-long meeting of the organisation’s highest governing body, the Conference, in Rome, Italy, which was attended by several heads of state.

“I have to thank Adesina and his team that worked tirelessly to get us to where we are. Let me use this unique opportunity to tell Nigerians and the rest of the world that we appreciate this recognition, we have yet to reach where we want to go, but surely, we will get there,” Jonathan said while formally receiving the award from the minister.

The minister described the award as a testimony that the international community recognised the President’s efforts at feeding Nigeria.

In giving the country the award, the minister said the FAO recognised that the number of Nigerians suffering from hunger reduced from 19.31 million in 1990 to 1992 to 13.38 million in 2010 to 2012 .

He added that the prevalence of under-nourishment in the country declined from 19.3 per cent in 1990/1991 to 8.5 per cent by 2010/2012.

This, he explained, was below the Millennium Development Goal target of 9.7 per cent that was set for 2015.

Adesina added that Nigeria had been recognised for achieving the MDG 1 on hunger two years ahead of schedule.

He said, “We are proud of this achievement, Mr. President because of your passion and leadership in pushing for food security in the country.

“Mr. President, you launched the agricultural transformation agenda in 2011 with a goal of adding 20 million metric tonnes of food to our domestic food supply, we are well and aware under your leadership to achieving that target.

“In the last two years, Nigeria has added nine million metric tonnes of food to our domestic food supply, 45 per cent of the target.”