The Department of Political Science, Nile University of Nigeria, organized an online seminar titled “People & Government: Implications of COVID-19 Pandemic for Food Security in Nigeria” on May 20. The webinar was delivered by Dr. Jelili A. Adebiyi. Dr. Adebiyi started his presentation by explaining the concept of food system as a complex web of activities that involve the production, processing, transport, and consumption of food. The stakeholders in food systems planning, he continued, include the farmers, retailers, consumers, and the government.
He commented further that the overarching aim of food system planning is to achieve community, individual and national wellness, environmental stewardship and food security. According to him, food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs for an active and healthy life. However, Dr. Adebiyi stated, the COVID-19 pandemic which has necessitated the national lockdown and the closure of borders, airspace, and ports has affected food security in Nigeria such that there is a broken food chain and farm input distribution, as well as decrease in food availability, accessibility and affordability.
He concluded that to forestall severe food insecurity in Nigeria, the government needs to increase its testing capacity, curtail the entry of COVID-19 into rural areas, adopt system-wide collaborative approach, and, more importantly, leverage Nigeria’s informality with neighbourhood food retailers and urban community garden. The seminar ended with a question and answer session.