DATE: Oct. 06, 2019
VENUE: AE-FUNAI, NIGERIA
Faculty of Agriculture Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu Alike (AE-FUNAI) has in last two years organized and hosted successfully the International Conference on Food Security and Hidden Hunger. In 2019 the 3rd International Conference has been slated.
Hidden hunger, is said to denote a chronic lack of micronutrients – vitamins and minerals – whose effects may not be immediately apparent and whose consequences may be long-term and profound. These effects are actually “hidden” because typical signs and symptoms of severe deficiencies are absent as long as a small amount of the micronutrients is present in the diet. These bring about a huge health security challenge. The major candidates of hidden hunger or micronutrient deficiency are iron, iodine, zinc, vitamin A and D because, the deficiency of any of these micronutrients can lead to visible, clinical symptoms which affect a lot of people worldwide. Unfortunately, it has been reported that nearly half of the world’s population are affected by hidden hunger. Food and Agriculture Organization and World Health Organisation have reported that approximately 2 billion people globally suffer anaemia as a result of iron deficiency, 1 billion suffer skin lesions and diarrhoea as a result of zinc deficiency, 200 million suffer night blindness due to vitamin deficiency, and 750 million suffer goiter/cretinism due to iodine deficiency.
The situation can become worsen by climate uncertainty which is characterized by shifting rainfall patterns, increased desertification and warming temperatures. This threatens to decrease people’s ability to grow food sustainably in many parts of the developing world. It is becoming revealed that climate change may be playing an increasing negative role in setting natural nutrient levels of many foods. Now many people may not know that rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) (the principal greenhouse gas) is expected to affect the nutritional value of many basic food crops. Important staples foods appear to be losing their nutritional value, with vitamin content, mineral and protein levels dropping measurably. This of course has widespread implications for the health and well-being of us all.
The conference, which will have different stakeholders in the food, nutrition and health sectors in attendance, is aimed at discussing, exchanging, and sharing knowledge and experiences on the Implications of Hidden Hunger on Nutrition and Health Security in the face of Climate change. It will also offer specific, measurable, actionable, relevant and time-bound recommendations for realizing formidable nutrition and health security with the view of ending all forms of hunger while proffering ways to contend with changing climate.