Lake Chad region and Nigeria’s food security | Dailytrust

Lake Chad region and Nigeria’s food security

As the world Mark the World Food Day on October 16, it is no longer news Nigeria is facing a food crisis as the food basket of the country, northern Nigeria, is now bedeviled by insurgency in the North East for the past decade and recently by banditry in the North West, which have both impacted negatively on food production of the region and country at large. The spiraling rise in food prices even during recent harvest period is indeed a signal to how food unsecured the country may be in the future if nothing is done.

The cumulative effect of the insurgency over the past years on food production in the North East and the Lake Chad area coupled with the recent banditry have aggravated the situation making a bag of beans, maize, millet, sorghum to cost N70,000, N20,000,N19,000, N20,000 respectively in markets during the harvest period.

The Lake Chad region’s contribution to the food supply in the country was quite significant. Before the insurgency, areas like Baga, Mobar, Abadam,Mallamfatori, Bama, Monguno were the bastions of maize, sorghum, rice, millet, beans, wheat where hundreds of truckloads of these food crops are transported to all parts of the country on weekly basis. Thousands of buyers from all over the country come to Lake Chad  to transact business. All of these came to a halt as farmers joined the league of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)  due to the activities of the terrorists.

About 6.9 million people are now recorded as being food unsecured according to the FAO, as most of the food producing areas were completely destroyed and most buildings are burnt down and their occupants moved to IDP camps.

The Lake Chad area also supplies more than seventy per cent of the livestock requirement of the nation and those insurgency-prone areas are the home of the livestock being traded.

The region was also a major source of fish in Nigeria but the supply was also disrupted when Baga was occupied by the insurgents and became part of their territory before it was liberated about two years ago.

The disruption of food supply from the Lake Chad area will continue to impact negatively on the food security situation of the country unless the more than three million internally displaced are resettled in their homes and are encouraged and supported to resume farming like they used to do. This requires a concerted effort from all relevant agencies.

To restore the lost glory of Lake Chad and its ability to produce food for the more than 30 million people of the region and the country at large, we need to design programmes such as the Anchor Borrowers Programme.

The federal and state governments, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the North East Development Commission have an important role to play.

The farmers in the region need to have the wherewithal to engage in farming for the country to have enough to feed its ever-growing population.

 

Mulima Mato wrote from Damaturu

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