Experts in the Nigeria’s agriculture sector has charged president Bola Ahmed Tinubu on policies that could drive food security in the country.
Tinubu, during his presidential inauguration stated that his administration would create agricultural hubs throughout the nation to increase agriculture production and engage in value-added processing.
According to him, the livestock sector will be introduced to best modern practices and steps taken to minimize the perennial conflict over land and water resources in this sector.
Speaking with Businessday, National President Potato Farmers Association of Nigeria, Daniel Okafor stressed on the need for the government to ensure continued engagement of farmers.
For him, most policies in the past failed because the farmers associations were neglected.
“The government should ensure to carry the farmer association along in developing and implementation of relevant agricultural policies. Developing policies without stakeholder engagement will not be successful.
“Farmers are the ones that produce food, hence they must be carried along through the established associations.
“We also need policies that will ensure that we export only value added foods. Exporting raw foods in reduces the values we get in return.
“Also insecurity is a a major issue that must be checked. Without security, no farmer can go to the farm.
For Uchenna Daniel, of Green Grain Nigeria Company, ensuring food security in Nigeria, would require a deliberate effort, because many factors have affected the agriculture sector, especially food production in recent years.
These factors according to him include: insecurity, flood, poor farming inputs (such as seeds, fertilizers), poor mechanization.
He noted that access to farm machines has been on a low scale, “it is disheartening to see labourers working on big farms with cutlass and hoes. In this present day.
“Another factor of is access to quality seeds. What most rural farmers do is that they use same seeds for a long time, the quality depreciates.
“And of course, we cannot rule out the impact of insecurity which is affecting almost every aspect of the economy.
“The President plans to create agricultural hubs in states is a good one, but we must first ensure that these states are safe, our farmers must feel safe to go to their farm lands also.”
This is as the UN report stated that food access has been affected by persistent violence in the north-east states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe and armed banditry and kidnapping in states such as Katsina, Sokoto, Kaduna, Benue and Niger.
For Olitsa Maxwell, 2scale Country Team Leader, agriculture starts with the grassroot farmers but majority of these wealth are not found in the grassroots.
According to Maxwell, inclusive agribusiness is about deliberately shaping the core business processes and values of food production, so that they address the needs of small holder farmers.
“An adaptable and resilient food system requires a more competitive, coordinated and inclusive grassroots network built around small holder farmers.
“We urgently need to build macroeconomic policies to drive agribusiness, because as we know agribusiness is connected to the growth of the overall economy,” he said.