Jonathan, who spoke while receiving the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) Award for Nigeria’s reduction of hunger under the MDGs before the commencement of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja yesterday, hoped that “Nigeria will get there”.
After receiving the award from the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwwumi Adesina, the President said: “I have to thank Akinwumi and his team that worked tirelessly to get us to where we are. Let me use this unique opportunity to tell Nigerians and the rest of the world that we appreciate this recognition. We are yet to reach where we want to go. But surely, we will get there.”
In his remarks while presenting the President with the award, Akinwunmi said: “Mr President, you are feeding Nigeria, and the international community recognises your efforts and leadership in feeding Nigeria. The FAO of the United Nations (UN) has just given a special recognition to Nigeria for the achievement of reducing the number of people suffering from chronic hunger and for making notable progress in guaranteeing food security for our citizens.
“I was honoured, Mr President, to receive this special recognition on your behalf at the FAO.
“Why did they give this award to Nigeria? Your Excellency, according to the FAO, the number of Nigerians suffering from hunger reduced from 19.31 million in 1990 and 1992 to 13.38 in 2010 to 2012.
“The prevalent of undernourishment in our country declined from 19.3 per cent in 1990/1991 to 8.5 per cent by 2010/2012. This is below the MDG target of 9.7 per cent, which was set for 2015. Therefore, Nigeria has been recognised for achieving the MDG 1 on hunger two years ahead of schedule. We are proud of this achievement, Mr President, because of your passion and leadership in pushing for food security in the country.
“Mr President, you launched the Agricultural Transformation Agenda in 2011 with a goal of adding 20 million metric tonnes of food to our domestic food supply. We are well and aware, under your leadership, to achieve that target. In the last two years, Nigeria has added nine million metric tonnes of food to our domestic food supply, 45 per cent of the target” he said.