Naija Foodie Update

Foodie Naija Update (Towards Boosting Agriculture In Nigeria)

It is sad and ironical that Nigeria, which had once had agriculture as its economic mainstay, is today grappling with food scarcity.

The problem obviously emanates
from the country’s total dependency on oil since the 1960s. Gone were the days when agricultural products like cocoa,
palm oil and groundnuts were
produced in commercial quantity.

In Nigeria today, most of the foods consumed are produced by rural farmers who engage in small and medium agricultural
enterprises. No thanks to government’s poor attitude towards agriculture.

The government rather places high
premium on the oil sector which is presently at its lowest ebb. I think the nation needs to
diversify the economy with
greater attention paid to mechanised farming.

Nigeria has abundant agricultural potentials that need to be consolidated for
economic growth and
consumption. The country should
therefore build a platform for the
development of the agricultural sector.

It is necessary for the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to
work in synergy with other agencies and organizations with
a view to significantly raising
awareness on the need for agricultural sustainability in
Nigeria.

I want to believe that Nigeria is rich in resources to supply the agricultural needs of the populace if the government plays
its role well.
The government should declare
agriculture as one of its key areas of development,
particularly the mechanised
agriculture.

While ensuring that
farmers get sufficient fertilizer, the Federal Government should
encourage more participation in
agriculture.
The country’s agriculture would
thrive if the Federal Government
provides conducive environment for the sector to develop.

The situation whereby farmers have to wait for government for the supply of seeds, fertilizers and others when they can buy the products in the open market is
unacceptable and does not augur well for the country.

Nigerian farmers should be allowed to benefit more from the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) Scheme of the past administration. The Buhari administration should sustain the scheme, because the scheme was targeted at farmers, not politicians.

From the records got from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, about 14.5 million farmers have so far been captured and benefitted from the scheme, but
that is not enough.

The population of farmers in the country is far more than that.
The Federal Government, for
instance, should subsidise the cost of raw materials used in poultry and fish feeds, cassava and rice production to boost local supply. This is because the cost of running these businesses is capital-intensive due to high
cost of raw materials.

This calls for the Federal Government to purchase the grains in high quantity and provide enough storage facilities and sell them at subsidised rates to farmers.

Irrigation is a key element that boosts agriculture in any country, so government must come up with a viable irrigation system, using the existing network of over 200 dams, in addition to the vast rivers and lakes in Nigeria.

Since irrigation policy is critical to achieving the country’s 2020 vision and in ensuring food
security, the Federal Government must devise means of reducing rain-fed agricultural system.

The Federal Ministry of Water Resources and other government
agencies should seek the cooperation of some international agencies like the
Food and Agricultural
Organisation (FAO) in fine-tuning the irrigation policy for sustainable food production in the country.

Nigeria should know that more than oil, agriculture is key to the survival of its citizenry. We can
only toy with it at our own peril.

The question that should agitate our minds is “What becomes of Nigeria when the oil dries?”
Your answer is as good as mine.

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