This blogpost is a follow up of ACHIEVING QUANTUM LEAP ON FOOD SAFETY IN NIGERIA LEVERAGING ENABLING DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES
Co-ops, farmers and agri-food supply chain presently rely on paper-based records, verbal promises and complicated agreements; this frequently causes critical problems due to lack of transparency, restricted access to data or price barriers to this data, graft and corruption. With rapid urbanization, cities need to keep food safety and sustainable food systems planning high on their agenda. Today, half of the world’s population lives within three hours of a small city and town or on only three percent of the Earth’s surface. By 2050, this number is expected to increase to 60 percent. This means that the issues of food safety, food production and distribution will take on even greater importance in strategic discussions on sustainable development and growth. No matter how much our world continues to evolve and challenge us, the greatest danger is that we fail to protect and safeguard our food systems. It is paramount that we find sustainable ways to cultivate, produce and consume safe and healthy foods while preserving our planet’s resources.
Nigeria is expected to be the 3rd most populous country in the world by the end of the century, according to the UN. Over 50 million urban Nigerian dwellers demand more information about food, reflecting the need for more transparency. Globally, over 420,000 people die and some 600 million people – almost one in ten – fall ill after eating contaminated food. In fact, foodborne hazards are known to cause over 200 acute and chronic diseases from digestive tract infections to cancer (FAO Report). With food regulating bodies such as National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) etc. inability to regulate farm practices, most food consumers at restaurants and cafeterias also cast doubt on how food is grown and prepared.