As the World Food Day was celebrated around the globe recently, the issue of adequate food for everyone came to the fore of development planning among nations. Although the current administration in Nigeria has placed some emphasis on agriculture as a viable alternative to oil revenue, millions of citizens still go to bed hungry every night due to inadequate food production, mounting poverty and a harsh economy. To conquer hunger and ensure food security in Nigeria, what can the government and other relevant stakeholders do?
* To conquer hunger and ensure food security, emphasis must continue to be placed on agriculture as a viable alternative to current free-fall of oil revenue as millions of citizens still go to bed hungry every night. Government must work assiduously with youths and banks to secure soft interest-free loans for subsistent or micro-farming nationwide and urgently. Policy makers must remove food production barriers while encouraging public investors’ participation. Improved seeds, chemicals, local farming tools, delivery and storage facilities, processing and packaging tools e.t.c. should be free and accessible.
– Miss Apeji Patience Eneyeme, Badagry, Lagos State
* Food security is indeed vital; however, what can the masses of Nigeria do to help? Government cannot do everything. Let us jettison acquired tastes, please! What is the craze over Noodles for instance, when all sorts of tubers abound in this blessed land? In the North where I stay, there are all sorts of potatoes and other tubers but everyone wants to eat rice.
– Mr. E. Iheanyi Chukwudi, B.A.R. Associates, Apo, Abuja
* No nation can conquer hunger but with focus and discipline, it can be reduced. To achieve this, agriculture in its different phases must be encouraged. Agriculture from farming to processing and production to packaging and marketing must be pursued by the public and private sectors. Relevant financing for all agricultural sub sectors must be provided to encourage agriculture entrepreneurs while youths are encouraged to participate at all levels of agriculture. Furthermore, a viable database for agriculture must be built to reduce fraud, abuse and waste in the system.
– Mr. Utibe Uko, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State
* The only way Nigeria can conquer hunger and ensure food security is for all Nigerians to be serious-minded in whatever they are doing. Many abandoned their responsibilities and became vultures of oil, including farmers, fishermen, and miners e.t.c. We must all take the God-given gifts in each of us seriously to ensure food security as not all of us are farmers. The government too must introduce interest-free loans through banks to all those who want to engage in farm work.
– Hon. Babale Maiungwa, U/Romi, Kaduna
* Only 1.26 per cent was allocated this year to the agriculture sector that employs over 70 per cent of the population and this is unacceptable. So to ensure food security, States and Federal governments should increase investment in agriculture in line with the Malabo commitment of 10 per cent. Responsible investment in small-scale agriculture is the best way to reduce rural poverty and hunger. Everyone should see farming as the way to go and not as occupation for the illiterate.
– Mr. Kunle Olawoyin, Abuja
* An average age of full-time farmers in Nigeria who are engaged in subsistence farming is put at 65 years and above. For any nation to overcome hunger or food shortage, the younger folks should take farming as a lucrative profession, and this must be well funded by government to attract huge patronage.
– Ms. Mary Adeola Ayeni Tehinse, Lagos State
* Overcoming hunger in Nigeria is part of government responsibility with a complementary support from the people. Beyond slogans, action must be put in place to achieve this through a collaborative government/private initiative. Government cannot ask farmers to go back to the farms and then loose hungry cows after the crops. If this measure is put in place, by 2021 Nigeria would have achieved food security.
– Mr. Okechukwu Ikonne, Ogbor Oke-Ovoro Mbaise, Imo State
* Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times.
– Mr. Ezenwa Chika, Ikeja, Lagos
* I believe this is the only government that made agriculture a priority rather than depending on oils to move the nation forward. All hands must be on deck to ensure that food security is addressed. We should patronise made-in-Nigeria food to grow our economy and create employment for Nigerians. Let 2017 budget give major allocation to agriculture to boost food production. Any money given to the farmers should be monitored to avoid diversion.
– Mrs. Ijeoma Nnorom, Lagos State
* Although emphasis on agriculture has always been there, but implementation is our problem, due to corruption. To lure the youths to the farm and get the desired results, irrigation farming, mechanisation, loans, seedlings’ varieties, pesticides e.t.c. must be made available to farmers by January or February, against early rains so as to avoid associated bottlenecks.
– Mr. Dogo Stephen, Kaduna
* The states and local governments should follow federal government policies of agricultural revolution to boost food production in Nigeria instead of depending on foreign food. We have fertile land to grow agriculture but our so-called leaders are so lazy because of oil. I wish these oils will dry, let me know whether everybody will not engage in agriculture to survive. Government should ban some agricultural imports in order to allow local production to grow our economy and create employment even infrastructural development.
– Mr. Gordon Chika Nnorom, Public Commentator, Umukabia, Abia State
* Able-bodied youths both skilled and unskilled in both rural and urban areas idling away must be engaged into gainful farming urgently. Relevant financial institutions must issue monitored interest-free soft loans to identified youths for nationwide subsistence farming. All our natural fruits, games and seeds e.t.c wasting away in the bush must be rescued, processed and preserved with indigenous technology for future use. Regionalised Marketing Boards must come into function now.
– Mr. Apeji Onesi, Lagos State
* Let each state specialise in mass production of agricultural products where it has comparative advantage, backed by interest-free loans and well-equipped millennium settlements to lure the idle youths back to the farms. Good storage facilities, basic infrastructure and buy-back policies provided by governments at all levels will also go a long way.
– Mr. Olumuyiwa Olorunsomo, Lagos State
* Protect domestic industries, especially food-related ones. There is no serious agricultural nation that doesn’t have one form of protectionism or another. Until we increase tariffs on imported food items in order to make the local ones a lot cheaper, we cannot grow in food sufficiency. The thing to do is to remove all bans on imported food and simply introduce higher tariffs on food items that we have the capacity to meet domestic demand.
– Mr. Buga Dunj, Jos, Plateau State
* Systematic long-term focused investment in agriculture can take us quite far into the future, if we sincerely commit to it.
– Miss Abanna Nkeiruka, Lagos State
Top tip: Prioritise agriculture
Second: Harness idle youths
Third: Give interest-free loans
Radical tip: Remove all food bans!
Total no of respondents: 15
Highest location: Lagos (7)
Next Week: Should the Judges Accused of Corruption Step Aside?
The ripples over the recent raid and arrest of some senior judges by the Department of State Security (DSS) over allegations of corruption are yet to abate, with various stakeholders adopting opposing positions on the fallout of the arrests. While some analysts are lambasting the DSS of trampling on the sanctity of the Judicial arm of government, others want the accused judges suspended and prosecuted by a special court to deter corruption. To you, should the accused judges step aside until proven either innocent or guilty, to set good examples in the war against corruption?
Please make your response direct, short and simple, and state your full name, title, organisation, and location. Responses should be sent between today (Oct 27 & Monday, Oct 31) to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, AND firstname.lastname@example.org. Respondents can also send a short text message to 08023117639 and/or 08188361766 and/or 08114495306. Collated responses will be published on Thursday, November 3