Former Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi, has called on countries to invest in and develop urban agriculture as a vital strategy to build the resilience of cities’ food supply, reduce poverty and increase employment.
He made the call while speaking during a panel discussion at the Brazi-Africa Forum.
Fayemi said the forum was taking place at a time when the world was experiencing a food crisis of unprecedented proportion which he said was the largest in modern history and was brought about by conflicts, climate change, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the avoidable Russia-Ukraine crises.
The former Nigerian governor with urban agriculture and effective city-region planning, the food system could more efficiently meet the needs of diverse people in urban areas by improving nutritional requirements and mitigating environmental degradation of urban spaces.
He said the latest statistics presented by the 2022 Edition of The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World indicated as many as 828 million people go to bed hungry every night.
He said the number was an increase by about 46 million since 2020 and 150 million since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the report identified women and girls as the ones that were disproportionately impacted adding that, an estimated 60 per cent of undernourished people globally were women or girls, particularly in low-and middle-income countries.
He said Nigeria as the largest economy in Africa and the most populous with over 200 million inhabitants had the potential to utilise urban agriculture to augment food supply to its growing urban population.
“Urban farming is also a good source of food security options for households in the cities in the face of the serious unemployment crisis in the country. Urban farming can easily be noticed in Lagos, being Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre with the greatest concentration of manufacturing and service industries,” Fayemi said.