Can Nigeria Achieve Local Food Sufficiency in 2017?

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With the Federal Government’s renewed focus on agriculture as a viable alternative revenue source and greater involvement of young agri-preneurs in agri-processing, some analysts believe Nigeria can achieve local food sufficiency in 2017. However with problems of poor storage and influx of imported products like polished rice, packaged garri and yam flour, there are worries that local food sufficiency is still far from reality. To you, can Nigeria really achieve local food sufficiency in 2017?

ABIMBOLA AKOSILE

* Yes, we can achieve local and quality food sufficiency in 2017 especially with the federal government’s renewed focus on agriculture as a viable alternative revenue source and greater involvement of agripreneurs in agri-processing at strategic locations and time. Government must however tackle the challenges of poor storage, processing, preservation and influx of banned imported products like polished rice, packaged garri, yam flour e.t.c. still leaves much to be done. The unfortunate issue is our porous borders that need patriotically genuine, timely, critical and genuine policing now.
– Miss Apeji Patience Eneyeme, Badagry, Lagos

* Whatever efforts we make towards food sufficiency, though increased agricultural output, would come to naught until we stop herdsmen moving their cattle at liberty into tilled farmlands. Let’s work towards providing the ranches, restricted grazing can suffice before the ranches take root. Then we can talk about food sufficiency, and then maybe export.
– Miss Damilola Oyedele, Abuja

* Food sufficiency can only be achieved in the country if all the tiers of government commit more to fixing the nation’s infrastructural deficits, especially as it affects agriculture. Considering the current poor state of our rural roads between farms and the markets; the near moribund state of our water and irrigation schemes across the country; poor storage facilities; lack of incentives and difficult access to credits among many other elements; the honest verdict on the possibility of the nation’s attainment of food security this year is emphatic NO! We can do well next year if the foregoing issues raise are addressed. Government should make agri-businesses more attractive to young Nigerians especially our army of unemployed graduates. The federal government should consider food insecurity as a critical national challenge and take drastic measures and decisions in tackling it.

– Ambassador Rufus Aiyenigba, Director-General, Pro-Nigeria Group (P-NG) Abuja

* Nigeria can achieve local food sufficiency in 2017, with the bumper harvest in the country. It is achievable but Nigerians must be sincere to the nation and not lose hope.

– Mr. Yusuf Omotayo, Nda Aliu, Kwara State

* Frankly, I don’t see Nigeria achieving maximum local food sufficiency and security in 2017. The arduous task of providing food through revamping of the agricultural sector is what every responsive and responsible government should embark on. Government must apply productive policies in the agricultural sector to enhance local food sufficiency. There’s need for substantial import substitution for rice, sugar and wheat coupled with provision of gainful employment, and need for a major shift from subsistence nature of agriculture to modernised agricultural production, processing and storage; endless provision of fertiliser to farmers at subsidised prices; provision of adequate power supply for processing and storage of products and perishable crops. Nigerians need to complement the government efforts by engaging in agriculture for the provision of adequate food and creation of jobs; and involvement of the private sector with the required support and incentives from government.

– Ambassador Saviola Godwyn, Youth Vanguard for Good Governance, Abia State

* We can if we commit to fighting the displacement of farmers, destruction of farmlands and insecurity posed by herdsmen nationwide, as well as appoint dynamic and highly skilled patriotic Nigerians to lead our agricultural affairs at all levels.

– Miss Nkeiruka Abanna, Lagos State

* It cannot achieve local food sufficiency in areas like the North-east and North-west especially Southern Kaduna where farmers who cultivated food crops cannot harvest same this year as a result of Fulani herdsmen attacks. They set their cows to graze on the farm produce at will. The security forces need to further go into the bush and fish the attackers out, not by imposing 24 hours curfew on law-abiding citizens at home while the Fulani herdsmen are having a field day preparing to attack, kill and burn from the bush. Something must be done to address the ugly killing urgently before the rains set in.
– Mr. Dogo Stephen, Kaduna

* Yes, Nigeria can achieve local food sufficiency in 2017 but strict measures have to be taken to make this happen. Food imports must be discouraged with high tariffs and massive local production of key crops like rice, yam, cassava, beans and vegetables like tomatoes and pepper, and adequately stored. Farmers must be given improved seed varieties and fertiliser subsidies with access to market ensured through good road networks and removal of middlemen. Lastly, agri-processing to add value to the products and generate revenue must be embraced enthusiastically by the government and private sector players. With all these measures, food will be sufficient for both local consumption and export within a year.
– Mr. Olumuyiwa Olorunsomo, Lagos State

* The government desires that more and more Nigerians commit to agriculture but food sufficiency isn’t something that occurs overnight. Government has earmarked early March for the release of grains from national stock; this should be a one-off palliative. Let’s eat and buy ‘local’ too.
– Mr. E. Iheanyi Chukwudi, B.A.R. Resources, Apo, Abuja

* The government of PMB is working hard to make sure Nigeria has food sufficiency in 2017. All the states and local government areas should key into the agenda of PMB’s government on agricultural revolution. I don’t see any reason why Nigerians will be talking of hunger or hardship when we have enough land to cultivate agriculture. The so-called oils have made us too lazy to key into agriculture because of easy money making in the oil sector. It is time we change our mindset in governance so we can move Nigeria forward.
– Mr. Gordon Chika Nnorom, Public Commentator, Umukabia, Abia State

* With Osinbajo (the Acting President), anything is possible. As the naira appreciates against other currencies, so will the desire for food exports depreciate. Nigeria is working.
– Mr. Buga Dunj, Jos, Plateau State

* No. The time is rather too short for a genuine result. Recession has taken us several steps backwards and so we must be wary of instant or miracle solutions. Porous borders and the security agencies in charge need complete overhauling. Banned items in the open markets leave much to be desired. We must process and store enough food to curb shortage. Cassava cannot be wasting away in our farms while garri is being imported from India for whatever reason. We need no rushing but time, patience and focus.
– Mr. Apeji Onesi, Lagos State

THE RESPONSE

Yes, Nigeria can: 4
No, she cannot: 4
Others: 4
Radical tip: Check grazing first!
Total no of respondents: 12
Male: 9
Female: 3
Highest location: Lagos (5)

Next Week: Leaders or Masses; Who Are More Culpable?

Some analysts believe the past and present leaders are largely to blame for the poor rate of Nigeria’s development. However, others feel the masses or followers are more responsible for the current mess and that some leaders act with impunity to mismanage the country’s resources simply because the followers display apathy and instead turn on each other. In your own view, who is more culpable for Nigeria’s development challenges, leaders or followers (the masses), and what is the best remedy?

Please make your response direct, short and simple, and state your full name, title, organisation, and location. Responses should be sent between today (March 2 & Monday, March 6) to abimbolayi@yahoo.com, greatbimbo@gmail.com, AND abimbola.akosile@thisdaylive.com. Respondents can also send a short text message to 08023117639 and/or 08188361766 and/or 08114495306. Collated responses will be published on Thursday, March 9