Renowned Professor of Food Microbiology, Professor Ezekiel Tejumola Otunola, has warned that the trend at which hunger and malnutrition, combined with, leading to or interwoven with poverty and diseases, have been ravaging the world for many centuries now, may continue at a more devastating level, if urgent steps are not taken globally on issues of food insecurity.
He gave the warning while delivering the 24th inaugural lecture of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, titled, “The Battle Against Hunger and Malnutrition: The Significant Contributions of The Smallest Creatures”, at the weekend. He explained that even those in the developed parts of the world, who may at the moment feel secured, may become affected due to migration, (legally or illegally), leading to rapid population increases and refugee challenges in such countries.
Regretting that the alarming situation of global food and nutrition insecurity has led to serious consequences, especially on the vulnerable groups, particularly children, women (especially pregnant women), and the elderly, he listed some of the causes to include high ranking food wastage.
According to him, “to arrest the situation, hitherto untapped facilities and resources must be harvested decisively and rapidly. Fermentation technologies, even at local and traditional levels, should be considered as viable options in combating and eliminating hunger globally, and especially in the developing countries.
“These low cost technologies, that is especially suitable for rural communities stand the chance of being upgraded to industrial levels and attain sustainability. Moreover taking advantage of the more advanced modern biotechnology offers amazing promises in solving the problem of hunger and malnutrition around the world.
Otunola who advised that developing countries, including Nigeria, should follow closely the developed countries in the development of bio-based economy since they are equally, if not more blessed, as the developed countries in terms of the diversity of bio-resources, suggested that concerted efforts be made globally to break the vicious cycle of hunger, poverty and disease if the world is desirous of enjoying a measure of peace in the nearest future.
He noted that “It is also important, and indeed imperative, that developing countries especially Nigeria, invest heavily in research, particularly those related to biotechnology/bio-informatics, information and communication technology, and nanotechnology as these are the propelling forces for the ensuing bio-based economy that may soon dominate the global landscape