Experts see small-scale farming as panacea to Nigeria’s food insecurity

Experts in the Nigerian agricultural sector have strongly proposed small-scale farming as a major panacea to food insecurity, poverty and hunger that trouble socio-economic growth of the country.

They say it is high time the Nigerian population embrace the habit of cultivating land in form of family farming, in addition to commercial farming, to ensure food security.

The experts, including Ronke Sokefun, Ogun State commissioner for agriculture; Carolyn Afolami, professor of agricultural economics, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), and Bala Giginyu, president-in-council, Horticultural Society of Nigeria, believe that Nigerians should devise means to provide abundant food through subsistence farming.

Speaking at the World Food Day celebration held recently in Abeokuta, Sokefun noted that Ogun State had mapped out strategies that will promote family farming as a way of improving food production and eradicating hunger, saying the government would increase access to credit facilities, specifically to promote family farming as a follow-up to already promoted commercial farming.

Sokefun said: “Since family farming includes all family-based agricultural activities that consist food cropping, fisheries, forestry, pastoral and livestock production, which is managed and operated by a family and predominantly reliant on non-wage labour, the state government will continue to promote it by encouraging its populace to engage themselves in family farming.”

The commisioner said already, the present administration in the state had been addressing the need for family farmers’ access to credit, especially single-digit interest loans, attracting young graduates into the agriculture value chain through Model Farm Estates, reviving plantation by establishing model plantation of cocoa, cashew and giving easy access to agricultural land, among others.

She, therefore, called on families who have not keyed into state government’s agricultural policies to take advantage of the windows provided and increase their membership access to food.

Carolyn Afolami, professor of agricultural economics, FUNAAB, who delivered a lecture in Abeokuta, at the 47th inaugural lecture of the university, tagged: “Multi-dimensional Poverty Alleviation in Nigeria and National Development: The Inseperable Siamese Twins,” said Nigerians should, as matter of urgency, embark on massive land cultivation, including family farming to ensure food security and alleviate abject poverty.

The current trend in Nigeria in which less than 10 percent of the populace embrace agriculture and 12.1 million Nigerians are chronically undernourished as a result of hunger and poverty, calls for holistic approach to ensure that a larger percentage of Nigerians engage in farming, especially family farming in order to secure the nation’s from food security challenges, Afolami said.

Food cropping, especially as regards plantation of vegetables, fruits and spices as being practised by subsistence farmers, will contribute not only to food security, poverty reduction, but also human nutrition and improved health of the people and wealth creation for the nation, Bala Giginyu, predident-in-council, Horticultural Society of Nigeria, said.


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