‘Gardens In Homes, Schools’ — FG, States Mull ‘Operation Feed Yourself’ to Tackle Malnutrition

‘Gardens In Homes, Schools’ — FG, States Mull ‘Operation Feed Yourself’ to Tackle Malnutrition

The federal government, in partnership with states, is considering plans to launch ‘Operation Feed Yourself’ as part of efforts to tackle malnutrition and improve food security in the country. 

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo disclosed this on Monday, during a high-level meeting on nutrition.

According to a statement by Laolu Akande, spokesperson to the vice-president, Osinbajo said the initiative aims to encourage the establishment of farms and small gardens in homes and schools.

The meeting was attended by Amina Mohammed, UN deputy secretary-general; representatives from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Aliko Dangote Foundation; state governors, and Olusola Idowu, convener of the UN Food System Dialogue and permanent secretary, ministry of budget and national planning.

According to the vice-president, the initiative was conceived through the collaboration of the National Economic Council (NEC) and the National Council on Nutrition.

He said the ‘Operation Feed Yourself’ initiative is one of three major plans arising from the UN-backed food systems dialogues as part of efforts to address malnutrition.

Osinbajo listed other plans to include providing farmers across the country with useful weather and soil pattern information that will improve farming yields, and also encouraging state governments to ensure prompt release of budget for nutrition and related activities.

“There are practical steps that can be taken by the States and Federal Government in the next 12 months. I think that some of the suggestions are important, especially those that have come from the UN Food System Dialogue,” Osinbajo said.

“States and the FGN will promote what the convener has described as “Operation Feed Yourself”. This is more of the establishment of urban farms and homestead gardens. This is simply something that we think should be a mass appeal to citizens in the States, and the encouragement we can give them so that individuals and schools develop their own farms or homestead gardens.

“This obviously not only helps individuals and families but the excess can be sold to others and generally improve food security.

“The establishment of Agribusiness Investment Hubs or farm settlements or farm estates or any variety of those kinds of integrated farming arrangements will improve food and nutrition security. What we are recommending is the sort of model that Oyo State has or any of the variety that States have. That sort is obviously recommended because of the way that it is structured and the obviously good result that they have been getting.”

Commenting on funding of nutrition and related activities by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) as well as states, Osinbajo said more needs to be done to improve food security.

“It is one of the action points as defined in the food transformation pathways which we already have issued and we are hoping that these budget releases will be specifically directed at the action points defined in the transformation pathways because these are ways by which we have identified that we can gain maximum traction in food security,” he said.

“We urge the States to budget adequately for nutrition. Each MDA and State should adopt the national priority list, make budgetary provisions for those who haven’t concluded their 2022 annual budgets. I think there is still time to make adequate budgetary provision for nutrition in the 2022 budgets.

“It is also clear that we can leverage on the support of the UN Agencies and other partners like the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the World Bank as well as our development partners, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Aliko Dangote Foundation.Advertisement

“The Aliko Dangote Foundation was able to show what they have been doing especially with de-risking facilities that could be used by farmers in the various localities all over the country.”

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