FARMERS under the auspices of All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, Monday, urged the Federal Government and other stakeholders to adopt innovations and knowledge for sustainable food security.
The National President, AFAN, Arc Ibrahim Kabir, explained why innovation and knowledge adoption are imperative while making reference to what he described as the Netherlands experience, pointed out that the declaration of a state of emergency on food security in Nigeria portends the stemming of insecurity, the adoption of climate smart Agriculture, embracing STI, scaling automation as well incentivizing small scale farmers by a seamless provision of subsidy and access to sustainable credit which all together require knowledge and innovation.
Meanwhile, he described the 15th Annual Agricultural Show slated for 20th- 24th November, 2023 as unique, because it is on the heels of the declaration of a State of Emergency on food security by President Bola Tinubu to galvanize food production, nutrition and security.
He also expressed confidence that Mr President would incentivize smallholder farmers to keep working assiduously to provide food for Nigeria’s population of over 200,000,000 people, regardless of the pervading insecurity, abysmal mechanization and high cost of ferttilizers and other inputs.
He said: “Netherlands agric concern, calls for adoption for Nigeria’s population at this point is a little over 200,000,000 grappling with an ailing food system incapable of guaranteeing food security but come 2050 the population will even expand to about 400,000,000 as projected therefore requiring more effort for the country to be food secure.
“Relevant knowledge and innovation are necessary tools, above all else, to bring about food security and economic prosperity as shown by some small countries like Singapore and the Netherlands.
“The success story of the Netherlands presents a veritable model easily transferable to Nigeria’s situation at this point.
“The Netherlands is a small country with a population of 17,000,000 people out of which only 155,000 are farmers but having Food Security and an income from Agriculture second only to the United States of America.
“The main tools for the attainment of this prosperity are Knowledge, Innovation and institutional or governance excellence.
“The University of Wageningan & Research in the Netherlands is a world renown public research institution for Agriculture etc. which has helped to transform the fortunes of the Netherlands and other countries such as China,currently the World’s largest producer of Wheat and Potato.
“Nigeria can leverage on the evolution of Agriculture Intelligence Centers, AIC, and Centers of Excellence on Agriculture in all the six geopolitical zones in order to bring about rapid Food Security after stemming insecurity and corruption.
“The period between now and May 2027 can be used to ensure the evolution of knowledge based Agricultural improvement and if need be even disruptive innovation to bring about food sufficiency and the ultimately desired food security.”
Meanwhile, he said despite there are research innovations done by researchers at the various institutes on boosting food security in Nigeria, “Any success story is worth modeling so there is every need to look at places where things have worked to improve what you are doing.
“The researches by our researchers are invaluable and quite useful but putting them in a model that is a proven success story is germane.”
However, he said to urgently boost food security in Nigeria, “We must have physical security as a prerequisite as well as many other factors like: Science, Technology and Innovation, STI, mechanization, good seeds, all year round farming activity and provision of subsidy on fertilizers and other inputs directly to genuine farmers will help the attainment of food security in Nigeria.”
On adoption and adaptation of the innovations he spoke about on the Netherlands experience, he said farmers are to be sensitized “through media and extension services information flows to the Smallholder farmers generally. AFAN is present in all the 774 LGAs in Nigeria and the leaders speak in the same language as the farmers so there is a seamless flow of information.”
On the financial implications to bring down such innovation to Nigeria, or technology transfer the AFAN boss said, “There is no debilitating hindrance of cost in Knowledge transfer and Innovation that I know to be insurmountable.
“The political will do it is paramount because the farmers are most willing as they also eat.”