Countries around the world, including Nigeria, have been called upon to stop economic protectionism, avert pandemic hunger and let peoples have access to cheaper, quality and sustainable foods as climate change and other factors hamper food production globally.
With estimates indicating over two billion children would be born by 2030, experts at an ongoing poultry and pork show in Sao Paulo, Brazil, said making food available and taming hunger that could escalate conflicts should be the focus of countries rather than protectionism and destructive international politics.
Protectionism – the president of Brazilian Association of Animal Protein (ABPA), Ricardo Santin, said – is counter-productive and political, contradicting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and exposing vulnerable peoples to hunger, malnutrition and extremely expensive foods.
ABPA said, as a member and partner of the International Poultry Council (IPC), it is committed to focusing on five of the 17 UN SDGs and encourages its members to introduce measure that can help achieve these goals, including zero hunger, good health and well being, quality education, industry, innovation and infrastructure, and climate action.
Factors hindering food production around the world, he identified, include climate change, inefficient technologies, limited resources and conflicts, such as in Ukraine, Nigeria and other countries.
It will be recalled that Nigeria has put restriction on importation of over 40 agro-food items, including poultry, while insurgency and conflicts between farmers and herders have reduced food productivity, amid poor use of technologies, fertiliser and other food productivity-enhancing input.
Emphasising the role Brazil could play in closing food shortage around the world, especially, protein sources, Santin said ABPA has 140 companies and entities from the entire production chain: producers and exporters of poultry, swine, eggs and poultry genetic material, state and industry associations, suppliers of equipment, certification bodies, laboratories and several others.
He said Brazil, as a global player in food production, is the number one producer of coffee, orange juice, soybeans and sugar, while it is the second largest producer of tobacco and beef; third in chicken, and second in ethanol, as well as the third largest producer of corn and cotton, and fourth largest producer of pork.
Technology, he said, has helped in maximising yield per hectare and in minimising forest depletion and environmental damage, as 66.8 percent of native forest is preserved.
He said four million jobs have been created through the poultry value chain, as the country is number one, exporting 30 per cent of its production while 70 per cent is consumed locally.
The strength areas of Brazil, according to him, include natural resources, one of the most advanced production systems in the world, grain availability, integrated production, sanitary status, flexibility, and variety of markets.
A director of ABPA, Luis Rua, said Brazil is ready to partner with Nigeria in poultry and animal production, processing and crop production. But protectionism must be minimised while emphasis is placed on food affordability, technology transfer and mutual benefits.
Noting that Nigeria is a regional economic giant, Satin said awareness would be carried out among poultry and pork stakeholders in Nigeria by 2023 to explore areas of collaboration.