An estimated 690 million people went hungry in 2019. That figure went up by 10 million from 2018, and by nearly 60 million in five years. In Nigeria in April 2020, food inflation had risen to 15% compared to 14.7% in December 2019. With rising food prices, inter alia, there’s an indication that COVID-19 is likely to hamper the attainment of food security in Nigeria which will in turn affect the realization of the SDG Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. SDG Goal 2 aims to ensure that “everyone everywhere has enough good-quality food to lead a healthy life.”

Achieving this all-important goal, experts have argued, will require improved access to food and the pervasive promotion of sustainable agriculture, occasioned by a commitment by all stakeholders to improve the productivity and incomes of small-scale farmers through promoting equal access to land, technology and markets, sustainable food production systems and resilient agricultural practices. And to accelerate agricultural transformation, sustainable rural development and reinforce the productive capacity of agriculture for a developing nation like Nigeria, sustainable investment via international cooperation is required.

This is why, as the whole world commemorates World Food Day today, the first time it is marked amidst a global pandemic, it is more important now, more than ever, to ensure food makes its way to those who are most in need. Launched by the United Nations in 1945 with the primary focus of tackling and eradicating global hunger, World Food Day is celebrated globally on October 16 – a day that marks the founding date of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. This year, the whole world appears unanimous in the call for global solidarity to help the most vulnerable people recover from the adverse effects of COVID-19 and with the theme: Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together”, it aims to make food systems more resilient and sustainable to withstand global volatility and shocks.

This year’s #WorldFoodDay is landmark as it marks the 75th Anniversary of the founding of FAO, and as countries grapple with the pervasive effects of the pandemic, the day will highlight the role of food and agriculture in the COVID-19 response.

Diamond Development Initiatives, through a portfolio of grants from, and strategic partnership with, the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Chemonics, the World Bank, Federal Government of Nigeria, and others, has supported smallholder farmers, CBOs such as cooperatives or producer associations. They were, among other things, assisted to accelerate the use of proven, evidence-based technologies and strategies to improve agricultural production (resulting in safe and nutritious food), increase farm yield, bolster quality food production, and increase earning capacity.

Having worked in that space for close to two decades, and with the support of its funders and partners, DDI is dedicated to the global SDG Goal 2 to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. Let’s Grow, Nourish, Sustain, Together

Happy World Food Day!