Nigeria and the need for food security | Dailytrust

Nigeria and the need for food security

The right to sufficient food is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in subsequent international law.  Food security is ensured when food becomes available, affordable as well as accessible.

However, it is worth to note that food security is not simply having sufficient and adequate quantities of various foodstuff but it also entails access by the citizenry to food items at affordable prices. It further means that not only must we engage in mass food production, but also we need to ensure that most Nigerians have sufficient purchasing power to acquire food items.

Food security also has to do with the absence of threats of hunger or malnutrition among the population.

Majority of the rural populace depends on agricultural related activities for their livelihood.  Successive administrations in Nigeria had initiated programmes towards ensuring food availability and accessibility for the teeming population in the country.

These include; the National Accelerated Food Production Program (NAFPP) by Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Operation Feed the Nation (OFN) by Murtala/Obasanjo Administration, among others.

Despite these efforts, agriculture has been constrained by numerous challenges such as rural-urban migration, insufficient infrastructure, poor agricultural inputs, reliance on oil economy and over dependence on rain-fed farming.

Yet, the most grievous bottleneck facing the agricultural sector today in Nigeria is the mass abandoning of arable land by farmers due to security challenges. Consequently, this leads to a deficit in agricultural production.

Nigeria still has the potentials to be food-secure through adoption and implementation of strategic measures for the peasant farmers to operate in their farming activities. This can be achieved through ensuring rural development, provision of easy access to basic farm inputs, adequate budgetary allocations to agriculture particularly to the food crop sub-sector, enunciation of appropriate policies for food crop sub-sector, political stability and reduction in rural poverty, among others

In response to that, the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has initiated multiple agricultural programmes aimed at ensuring food security in the country. Notable among them include the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), which provides farm inputs both in kind and cash to smallholders farmers in order to boost  agricultural production. Tremendous success was achieved through this program especially with rice production in Kebbi State. There is also the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI), which was launched in 2016, to make fertilizer available to the farmers. Farm Youth Lab (FYL) is another Initiative of the Federal Agricultural Ministry to train Nigerian youths on livestock production and sustainable urban agriculture.

Moreover, in March 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the National Food Security Council (NFSC). The council was mandated to develop sustainable solutions to farmers and herdsmen clashes, climate change, piracy and banditry, as well as desertification and their impacts on farmland, grazing areas, lakes and rivers. All these efforts are aimed towards increasing food production in the country.

The latest version of National Security Strategy 2019, a document released by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Retired Major-General Babagana Monguno, noted that with the drastic reduction of food importation, the government will continue to develop agricultural potentials to attain self-sufficiency in food production as well as exportation.

The recent directive on the establishment of farm estates in 109 Senatorial districts across the nation deserves an accolade. This mandate is to be realized by the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA), which has already inaugurated its first integrated farm estate in Katsina and other states. Across the country, each farm is expected to engage in rearing of poultry, fish and livestock, apiculture, crop farming, packaging and processing respectively.

With this development, it is hopeful that the country will be able to achieve food security and attain self-sufficiency in food production within the near future.

Nonetheless, even if all the aforementioned policies are implemented, unless strategic measures are put in place to curtail the rising security challenges bedeviling the country, the wish of the country to become a food-secure nation will never be realised.

Thus, peaceful environment should be created for farmers to resettle and muster more strength towards cultivating the vast abandoned arable land in order to boost agricultural production in the country.

 

Mukhtar Ya’u Madobi sent this piece via ymukhtar944@gmail.com

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