Why Nigeria is yet to be food secured – Varsity Don

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A University Lecturer with Agronomy Department, Faculty of Agriculture in Bayero University, Kano, BUK, Sani Miko has listed factors responsible for why Nigeria is yet to be food secured.

Professor Miko who categorized the factors into Internal and external policy challenges undermining the nation’s food security, said they include inadequate funding for the agricultural sector, threat of climate change for sustainable agriculture, insecurity of agricultural land and investments, insufficient value addition and agro-industrial processing facilities and low agricultural export among others.

The Varsity Don stated this while delivering a paper titled, “Policy Challenges To Food Security in Nigeria” during an annual Ramadan lecture organized by the Islamic Forum of Nigeria National Headquarters in Kano.

According to him, “Indeed, there are numerous challenges that prevented the Nigerian agricultural sector from attaining its full potential. They can be categorized into Internal and external policy challenges undermining food security in the country. The chief among them are as follows:

“Inadequate funding for the agricultural sector. Funding is inadequate to drive agricultural development in Nigeria. Achieving agricultural transformation would require funding beyond what the current budgetary allocation would provide. Over the years, Agriculture receives low investment from both State and Federal Governments. Example, Federal Government made budgetary allocation of between 1.3% and 3.4% to Agriculture in annual budget from the year, 2000 to 2007. In the year 2017, combined expenditure of the federal and state governments showed they spent only 1 .8 percent of their total annual budget to agriculture.

“Threat of Climate Change for Sustainable agriculture. This is negatively affecting the Nigerian agricultural sector while the policy response and the needed interventions to mitigate the impact has remained largely ad-hoc. Another factor is insecurity of Agricultural land and investments which is currently posing greater risk to agricultural production, processing, marketing and delivery of essential services. The menace of Boko Haram, Banditry and communal, farmers and pastoralists conflicts have devastated livelihoods and investments of hundreds of farming and pastoral communities.

“Low level of agricultural mechanization. The availability and accessibility of macro and micro mechanization equipment such as tractors, power tillers, planters, combine harvesters and others needed for land preparation and other agricultural activities is very low in the country. Another factor is inadequate rural Infrastructure. The capacity of the rural communities for massive agricultural production and on-farm processing has been constrained by inadequate road networks, power supply, irrigation infrastructure, storage and processing facilities.

“Poor extension services delivery: With an average of 1:10,000 extensions to farmer ratio across the country, farmers receive limited guidance and training in technology adoption. Also, limited access to affordable credit is another factor where farmers grapple with limited access to finance and high interest rates even with the interventions by the CBN.

“Similarly, issue of ineffectual synergy which relates to ineffective policy formulation and implementation structures at intra and inter-federal Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) and weak synergy between federal and states MDAs. This has led to persistent inter and intra-agency rivalry in the sector.

“However, given the interdependent nature of international economic relations, it is unlikely that a country like Nigeria would be able to achieve its food security goal using its internal dynamics alone. For any country to be able to achieve its food security goal, it would need to think and act both locally and globally.

“This would need an adjustment of its relations with international, regional, and sub-regional institutions like the FAO, the European Union (EU), and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). It would also require seeking the understanding and support of some countries, which may be negatively affected by some agricultural, food, and fiscal policies of Nigeria.

Report by Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim 

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