[Thought Piece] Actualization of the SDGs by 2030 for Food and Nutrition Security of Africa – The Perspective of Research and Innovation

Feeding the African continent with sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to its ever-growing population in a manner that reduces malnutrition and promote good health is one of the major concerns that has existed and continues to exist in the twenty-first century. The FAO acknowledges food security to exist when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. It is with this spirit and commitment that on 1st January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals formally became successors to the Millennium Development Goals and dedicated one of its goals to ensure the achievement of food security and improved nutrition. Sustainable Development Goal 2 aims to end hunger and ensure access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food by all people all year round. The Goal focuses on a large diversity of tasks, beginning from an increase in yield and improved infrastructure to the functioning of local markets and international commodity trading. The Goal 2 has three interconnected parts namely ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture.

The challenge confronting Africa and other developing continent is that available statistics show that about 720 to 800 million people in the world experienced hunger in 2020 and nearly 2.37 billion people did not have access to adequate food in 2020. Child malnutrition and adult obesity continues to be a challenge, particularly in Africa and Asia. I am of the conviction that in addition to the short-term effects of food insecurity and malnutrition, there are also long-term developmental impacts of lack of food security. I argue that beyond the direct apparent cost associated with loss of human lives and well-being, there is an implicit economic cost of hunger and malnutrition. Malnourished people are less productive, hungry children get no or little education, and become less productive adults in future even if hunger is overcome. Short-term events of food insecurity have been shown to have a long-term negative impact on growth potential of every economy.

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