Nigeria is a great country blessed with numerous natural resources and an arable landmass of about 923,768km2. The potential of agriculture in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized as it is a major contributor of the country’s GDP and employs over 70% of the working population,
But unfortunately, the agricultural sector has not received the required attention it deserves as a result of the oil boom and policies of previous administrations which has not favored the sector. According to statistics by Population of WORLD 2019 – PopulationPyramid.not Nigeria’s population is expected to rise above 233 million by 2025. Its youth population is constantly on the rise, climate change, insecurity, banditry, poverty, and high rate of unemployment are current problems that continue to challenge the present and past governments.
Food insecurity the country therefore must take a holistic approach and investment in the agricultural sector in order to move forward as a country. The challenges destabilizing the agricultural sector varies but let us look at some;
Insecurity, Climate change, bad roads, and Funding stand as the major threat to the country’s long-term food security.
These have led farmers to abandon their farms and harvests destroyed due to climate change and natural disasters and diseases. The Farmers-herders crisis, as well as the kidnapping of farmers, also threaten the agriculture sector.
A viable agricultural sector will ensure the availability of locals and locally made raw materials from beginning to finishing what do I mean when I say the availability of locals I mean labourers from the community, the local farmers in rural areas cannot afford to rent or own the most important farm machinery (the tractor) due to its high cost. The tractor makes the cultivation of a larger portion of land easy. In this regard, if the government particularly the state governments through their ministry of agriculture make accessible to farmers tractors for the cultivation of a larger portion of land then we can be sure of the improved quantity of crops produced if locally made materials from the beginning viable seeds and locally made machinery are invented our Agricultural research institute should be able to solve problems not compounding problems.
Government should be able to fund agricultural research sectors, mechanization, and tackling of climate change collaborate with the private sectors and research institutes to invest and facilitate agricultural research and transfer of breakthrough innovations to farmers for improved food production.
The present state of roads connecting our farmlands to urban areas, processing centers, and market places are terrible which causes droplets of crops items contributing to 60% post-harvest losses in Nigeria today, and not until we have good roads connecting to our major farmlands achieve food security will still be a challenge.
The food crisis in Nigeria today is to a large extent as a result of spoilage of food items caused due to lack of modern and improved storage facilities and processing of food items which has resulted in a scarcity of food items causing rich people to buy more thereby making food items more expensive just like we are experiencing today. In fact, not until we invest in the processing of our food items and modem storage facilities such as improved warehouses, cold rooms, spoilage will be inevitable, This is where private investors come in.
It is not just a saying Agric sector gives the highest foreign exchange earnings to a country and for the industrialization of the sector, they must be key things that must be done, which is food sufficiency and food security.
Import of food in the nation shows a lot of weakness on the economy, we must look at the processing and marketing and value addition of all agricultural produce and to see how we can improve our exportation this only is the way to sustain the economy and diversify it in real terms.
The need to improve our security on all side and make sure that farmers go to the farm and produce in commercial quantities
There is need for government to inject more funds to the agricultural sector to guarantee economic growth practicing agriculture needs a lot of funds.
There is need to strengthen our institutions, governmental and non-governmental organizations and individuals that are engaged in rural development programs in agriculture to invest and educate our farmers on the best agricultural practices for a productive and more sustainable agricultural economy in Nigeria such as GIZ, USAID among others.