One of the goals of the Nigerian government is to achieve self-sufficiency in food production and part of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Impact Areas and collective global 2030 targets is Nutrition, Health and Food Security. This linkage provides opportunity for collaborative action.
According to research, if the growing trend of instability in food production continues unabated, the number of malnourished or undernourished people will surpass 840 million by 2030. To provide more statistics, there are more than 3 billion people that cannot afford a healthy diet and an estimated 2 billion do not have access to basic sanitation. As a result, there is an increase in diet-related non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes.
The goal of the CGIAR is to end hunger and enable affordable healthy diets for the 3 billion people who do not currently have access to safe and nutritious food. In addition, it seeks to reduce cases of foodborne illnesses and zoonotic diseases (diseases transmitted from animals to humans) by one third.
In addition, the CGIAR intents to focus on gender equality, youth, and social inclusion. Although women make up 43% of the agricultural labor force in low- and middle-income countries, they have limited access to productive resources, rights, and services. The youth also face limited employment and entrepreneurial opportunities. The target is to close the gap in rights to economic resources, create access to ownership and control over land and natural resources for about 500 million women; and to offer opportunities for 267 million youth who are not employed, educated, or trained.
There have been various conversations around biodiversity and climate-smart agriculture as agriculture is said to account for almost a third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change has also greatly affected output from production because of high temperatures, erratic rainfall, flooding, and drought. Farmers need to be equipped to be more resilient to climate shocks while also providing solutions at national levels. Specifically, CGIAR seeks to turn five agricultural and forest systems into a net sink for carbon by 2050, and to decrease emissions from agriculture by 1 Gt per year by 2030.
The Federal Government in Nigeria must partner with public and private institutions to facilitate innovation in agronomy, livestock, and fisheries management to increase the diversity in food supply. Various initiatives have been implemented to achieve some of these goals, such as the PRO-Cashew Project, Sawah Eco-technology, and the APPEALS Project. The Federal and State Governments have also empowered farmers in various states. However, more done to improve the agricultural sector in Nigeria.
The IITA has reported on how crop innovation can address climate crisis in Africa, specifically with the development of improved climate-adaptive maize varieties. Such initiatives, amongst others, can be of benefit to farmers in Nigeria, this being one example. There needs to be more strategic moves being made to improve the sector in the country.