Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
Professor of Small Ruminant Breeding, Department of Animal Science, College of Agricultural Science, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ayetoro, Ogun state, Prof. Babatunde Taiwo has asserted that among the many challenges confronting Nigeria is the problem of food security.
Taiwo made the remark as guest lecturer at the recent first memorial lecture in honour of Prof. Samson Adedoyin, pioneer Vice Chancellor, Samuel Adegboyega University, Ogwa, Edo state which also featured discourse on Esan development and scholarship award of excellence to deserving students of the institution.
He disclosed that the number of child deaths per year due to vitamin A deficiency in Nigeria was 82,000 while maternal death was 11,000 beside the enormous loss in productivity by adults.
According to Taiwo whose lecture was titled: ‘Animal Agriculture: A Panacea to Food Insufficiency in Nigeria’, said findings of the Nigeria Food Consumption and Nutrition survey recently showed severe food insecurity in 40 per cent of all households surveyed in all the zones.
The university don explained that when a nation lacks enough food to live on, it means that the nation lacks food security and nutritional security since Nigeria in 2010 alone spent N1.3trillion importing wheat, sugar, rice and fish.
To curb the shortfall in food availability however, the pro chancellor of Samuel Adegboyega university, Elder Bisi Ogunjobi advised that policy makers should refocus the national economy policy from a linear based to a robust agro-based sustainable economy.
Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Ben Aigbokhan in a welcome address stressed that the memorial lecture in honour of late Prof. S.F Adedoyin (1952-2012) was apt, and that given the swing in the economic pendulum of Nigeria against the continued dwindling crude oil price, the country cannot sustain being a micro-earner for it to cut down on food insecurity.
Aigbokhan said Nigeria can survive acute food insecurity through massive investment in agricultural business and encouragement of SMEs in the agro business chain.