In a major stride toward ensuring food security in Nigeria, a collaborative effort, between the Nigerian government, the United States Agency for International Development, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), has given birth to the Nigeria Sub-National Food Systems Dashboard (NSFD). The dashboard comprises tools aimed to be a game-changer in shaping the nation’s food landscape, according to reports.
Speaking recently at the launch in Abuja, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Aliyu Abdullahi, said the dashboard is not just a data storehouse, but a simple-to-use tool that will drive the transformation of food systems at national and local levels. This initiative comes in response to President Bola Tinubu’s urgent call in July 2023, recognisng the critical need to tackle food security challenges head-on. He said, the Federal Government adopted the two-key indicators from the dashboard to measure progress in the implementation, and they include; the cost and affordability of health diets and diet polity.
The dashboard is expected to serve as a platform to promote collaboration and synergy, between different components of the food system, according to Abdullahi, adding that it is also linked to the dashboard controlling the Global Food System. Agriculturists, researchers, students, and those interested in investing in the food sector would find this dashboard invaluable. It’s like an open book filled with insights and trends in Nigeria’s food system across all the states, and made accessible to everyone. Business owners and entrepreneurs can use it to identify areas where they can invest in the food sector, potentially boosting the economy.
Speaking further, the minister said the dashboard incorporates 99 identified and tested indicators for a comprehensive view of Nigeria’s food system at all levels. “It offers a list of suggested policy actions and decisions for each state, based on thorough diagnosis of the data collected by the dashboard. These actions have the potential to improve the food system and advance national development efforts”, he noted. In a similar vein, the country director of GAIN in Nigeria, Dr. Michael Ojo, said the dashboard had created an opportunity for the government to examine areas in which Nigeria had not done well when compared to other countries in Africa.
He added that apart from guiding savvy business leaders and aspiring entrepreneurs toward promising investment opportunities, the food systems dashboard also serves as a beacon of knowledge, shedding light on essential research and providing vital insights for government officials, policy analysts, statistical agencies, and invaluable support partners. The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Ali Pate, conveyed his optimism through a representative; the Director and Head of Nutrition, Mrs. Ladidi Bako-Aiyegbusi.