SHOULD NIGERIANS EXPECT A BETTER FOOD SECURITY IN THE FUTURE?
Any nation that does not have a good food security management in place is only eating from hand to mouth and has no plans for the future. The coming generations in that country will come to suffer the negligence of their fathers.
Nigeria is said to be the giant of Africa, the subject of food security is a very important subject that everyone residing in Nigeria must take very seriously and learn more about food security because in doing that you will know how food security affects the economy of the nation and how it also affects everyone living in it.
Food insecurity affects every country in the world, but the countries mostly affected are the developing countries. Nigeria is not left out of this situation though the country is blessed with fertile land and huge human resources
WHAT DOES FOOD SECURITY MEAN
World Bank via its 1986 ‘Poverty and Hunger’ reports that, Food Security means an “access of all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life.”
Food security can also be said to be having sufficient nutritious food available at all time to meet ones need for food to deliver the strength needed to meet the day to day activities outlined by the person.
WHY IS FOOD SECURITY IMPORTANT
When we talk of food security, in as much as we are referring to the availability of food, it should also be known that the matter of food security affects the economy of the nation as well.
THE FOUR PILLARS OF FOOD SECURITY
The four pillars of food security are:
- Availability: Everyone should have ready access to physical, social and economic access to nutritious food at all times. It must be ensured that such food meets the nutritional and dietary need of the people.
- Access: This is making sure that the food which is available can be easily accessed by the person who actually should have it. At the same time it must be ensured that the available food is also affordable to the locals and the commoner’s.
- Utilization: This is generally how the body makes use of the food it has access to. From the point of purchase or harvesting to the point of preparation and finally to consumption.
- Stability: This is making sure that the available food is stable, available and can be easily accessible to all at all time.
At anytime when someone who boasts of sufficient food today begins to lack sufficient food that is needed for his daily nutritional need, this can be said to be food insecurity.
WHAT CAUSES FOOD INSECURITY OR SHORTAGE
1. Population growth
2. Changing tastes
3. Climate change
4. Water scarcity
5. Troubled farmers
NIGERIA AND THE MENACE OF FOOD INSECURITY
Food insecurity is a multifaceted problem. The challenge is that Nigerians at a time in the nations history diverted focus from its growing agricultural practice to focus on oil and the dividends derivable from oil. That led to believing and hoping that imported food will satisfy the food needs of her citizens. This went a long way in affecting the nation negatively.
What are some of the factors that affects food security in Africans most populous nation:
1. Insufficient Production
Due to increased population growth, the quantity of crops and agricultural produce provided should be scaled up annually. It is known that due to this increasing population, the production of food should also increase commensurately.
2. Gender Inequality
Gender inequality has been one of the causes of food insecurity. Women generally are discriminated in different strata’s of the society, be it in the school as students or in the secular society. Yet, they are responsible for the day to day running of their homes. Some of them even spend a good amount of their earning on their children and family at large.
It has been established over time that when the status of women is raised, it will go a long way to bring down the rate of poverty in the world.
3. Inefficient Policies and Corruption
The policies put in place by the nations legislative arms have really not helped agricultural development in the nation. If we must address the issue of food security, there has to be policies that encourage agriculture to thrive and the issue of corruption has to be looked into with every seriousness.
4. Conflicts and Civil Insecurity
Majorly in developing countries, the problems of civil unrest and tribal conflicts his further devastated the land, leaving fertile land uncultivated and causing an increase in food insecurity. In northern Nigeria the problems of the Book Haram insurgency in states like Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and Kano has done a lot of harm to the Nigerian economy especially in the area of food production.
The threat and suffering received from the Fulani Herdsmen have become a major problem to the entire nation especially those in the middle belt area of the country.
This social unrest has in a huge way affected food security in the country, making it difficult for the nation to be able to satisfy the food needs of her citizens.
5. Climate Change and Natural Disasters
Although Nigeria is blessed and rarely have problems associated with natural disasters, it is important to point out this factor of climate change and natural disasters, because at anytime it occurs that season will experience a very low yield of food production.
6. Low Technology for Processing and Storage
The challenge in the production and distribution of agricultural products in Nigeria today is as a result of lack of technological advancement in the area of food security.
The effect of this low technology for processing and storage is seen in the lack of means to preserve produce that cannot be easily or readily sold of. These products will be disposed because there is no good storage means and also the equipment needed to process them into other forms are not available.
STRATEGIES FOR ACHIEVING FOOD SECURITY IN NIGERIA
To achieve food security in Nigeria, the following points highlighted below have to be looked into very seriously. It should be known also that whatever effort that is being made should consider ensuring that food is through every means made available to the commoners in the streets.
1. Economic Strategies
For agriculture to thrive in Nigeria, the government must see it as their thing and take it very seriously by formulating and implementing workable programs that will drive agriculture well. They must make jobs in the agricultural sector very lucrative and attractive as well.
2. Social Strategies
Social networking and organized farmers cooperation. Farmers must harness every available channel to scale up their operations. The use of social media networking must become an important tool for farmers and they must be thought to embrace it and get the positive aspect of the social media networking to help boost their efforts.
3. Environmental Strategies
There is a need for an improved monitoring and evaluation system to ensure farmers comply to the standard regulations on usage of fertilizer and other approved pesticides in a controlled measure.
4. Technological Strategies
Crop rotation and diversification, irrigation system and promotion of mechanized farming techniques should be encouraged as these would positively impact on the yield of crops.