Thu. Jul 25th, 2024

World Food Day: NGO Advocates Water Management To Boost Food Production, Nutrition

By Justina Auta

An international NGO, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), on Monday called for effective water management to boost food production, food security and nutrition in Nigeria.

Mr Micheal Ojo, the Country Director, GAIN, made the appeal while addressing newsmen in Abuja in commemoration of the 2023 World Food Day, themed: “Water is Life, Water is Food. Leave No One Behind”.

Ojo noted that water availability was being threatened by urbanisation, poor management, pollution and climate change, underscoring the need for water management to ensure food security, and by extension nutrition.

“With Food Systems activities accounting for about 72 per cent of global freshwater withdrawals, which is required for crop cultivation, animal husbandry and food production.

“It has become extremely important to manage and reduce water use by agriculture, food and other land uses (AFOLU).

“There is need for increased public awareness on the necessity for water management in a world where water availability is being threatened by urbanisation, poor management, pollution and climate change.

“We believe that access to clean water is not only essential for survival but also plays a vital role in ensuring food security and better diets for all,” he said.

Ojo said GAIN has promoted adoption of sustainable agricultural practices, reduce the impact of these pressures on the integrated systems of land, soil and water which are being strained to their limits in the country.

“One of the biggest challenges we face today is increasing food production to meet the needs of an increasing population while using less water, so it is critical to improve the productivity, efficiency and environmental impact of how we use water in our food system.

“Consequently, we have been deliberate about building the capacities of food producers and processors we support on a wide range of water conservation methods such as adaptive farming techniques and improved water efficiency in their processes to mitigate these challenges,” he added.

The country director also stressed the need for stronger coordination and synergies between water and food systems actors that would boost water, food security and nutrition strategies.

“Strategies should intentionally address the challenges faced by the most vulnerable, given that food insecurity and a lack of access to clean water are pushing millions of mothers and their children into hunger and severe malnutrition.

“Adolescent girls, women and children’s access to water, nutritious, safe, and affordable diets should be prioritised.

“We believe that together, we can work towards a future where no one is left behind in the journey towards a nourished and sustainable world.

“We can do this by promoting water resource management that is sustainable and efficient is critical to the future of food systems, human and planetary health,” he said.

Mr Godwin Ehiabhi, the Senior Project Manager, Supply Chains for Commercialisation, GAIN, said the organisation aimed at improving nutrition and food security by supporting sustainable food systems and improving access to nutritious food.

“We support, especially those are the grassroots, to ensure that they know the importance of nutrition by sensitising and creating access to these safe and nutritious foods,” he said.

GAIN is a Swiss-based foundation responsible to tackle human suffering caused by malnutrition by transforming food systems to make healthier diets from sustainable food systems accessible to people, especially the vulnerables. (NAN

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