Farmers from the 18 local government areas of Edo converged at the state’s Ministry of Agriculture, Benin, on Monday to display their farm produce.
They were there on the invitation of the ministry as part of activities marking the 2021 World Food Day.
The News Agency of Nigeria NAN reports that the World Food Day is celebrated annually on Oct. 16 to promote global awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger.
It is also held to highlight the need to ensure healthy diets for all.
The exhibition by the farmers showed diverse food value chains from plantain, yam, rice, cocoa, garri, oil palm, pineapple, poultry products, fish and honey among others.
Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr Peter Aikhuomobhogbe, said the exhibition was organised to focus attention on agriculture and food production and to stimulate national, bilateral, and non-governmental efforts.
He said the event was also to encourage the participation of rural people, particularly women and the under privileged in decisions and activities that influence their lives.
“The amount and quality of food produced; the availability of that food and its price affect the types and qualities of food people eat as well as the variety and nutritional quality of their diets.
“If food systems worked well in providing consumers with diverse, nutritious, and affordable diets, people could procure their food in the markets regardless of their own agricultural productivity.
“Among poor households in Edo and in Nigeria at large, this is not the case. The rate of food insecurity and malnutrition in these areas are severe,’’ he said.
According to him, the state government has put in place an agricultural entrepreneurship programme expected to create 30,000 jobs.
In her remarks, Chairperson of the National Coconut Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, Amb. Tracy Agol commended the ministry for organising the exhibition.
“The food exhibition held on Monday is commendable. It brought together agricultural producers and products from the 18 local government areas of the state.
“If we continue like this, it means that food will be sufficient for the people,’’ she said.
Agol, however, called on governments at all levels to help tackle insecurity in the state to enable farmers to access their farms without fear of being killed or kidnapped.
“We no longer have food in abundance as it used to be because of insecurity. The few farm produce that are available are very expensive,’’ she noted.
Alhaji, Momodu Oshiobughie, coordinator of All Farmers Associations of Nigeria, Edo North, thanked the state government for the various agricultural interventions in the state.
The theme of this year’s celebration is: “Our actions are our future. Better production, better nutrition, a better environment and better life.’’ (NAN)