The Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology, has called on the Federal Government to properly manage the issue of flooding in the country so as to prevent food scarcity.
The institute said that devastation caused by the flooding in some parts of the country, if not properly handled, might lead to further devastation
At the 36th Annual Conference and General Meeting of the institute tagged Eko 2012, which was held at the University of Lagos, Akoka, last Tuesday, the NIFST President, Dr. John Obiora Onuora, said proper attention must be paid to the health and hygiene of the flood victims in order not to worsen the disaster.
He said, “We must appreciate the prompt relief efforts of the government to mitigate the plight of the flood victims. Nevertheless, we urge that all forms of distribution must be properly organised to ensure safety of the end-users.
“We are concerned about the quality of foods that are given out. We noticed that some of these foods were already affected by the flood and has a high risk of bringing diseases.
“Government in supplying the urgently required food aid to the flood victims should also put in place hygienic distribution and storage practices to avert incidences of food poisoning. NIFST is very willing to assist government in this,” he said.
Onuora added government should take urgent steps to estimate the likely shortfall in the food supply in the country and its consequences on the populace.
“Government must take immediate steps to conserve what food harvest is left in Nigeria to prevent avoidable post-harvest losses. Otherwise, we might witness a massive u-turn in the agricultural transformation agenda next year if government is pressurized to unplug the restrictions on the importation of rice and other commodities under the pretext of avoiding starvation resulting from the flood disaster,” he said.
Onuora added that the institute was prepared to co-operate with government at all levels, the nation’s food industry and non-government organisations to enhance food security for Nigerians.