As Nigeria joins other nations to commemorate the 2023 World Food Day, the federal government has said that food production in the country was being threatened by rapid population growth, and climate change among others.
This is as Nigeria’s population, according to the United Nations projection is estimated to double, reaching 377 million by 2050.
According to Kyari Abubakar, the minister of Agriculture and Food Security, who addressed the press in Abuja on Monday, stated that incidences of droughts, rainfall variability and desertification pose a greater challenge by putting the planet’s water resources under increasing stress.
“Water resources are declining due to climate change, urbanisation, and rapid population growth. Such an increasing threat to regular water supply has adversely affected not only food production but also agricultural livelihoods, with developing countries in particular, bearing a disproportionate burden.
“There must be an urgent synergy between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Water Resources to ensure adequate irrigation of farmlands and to guarantee that food is produced all year round.
“The theme for this year’s World Food Day is ‘Water is life, water is food. Leave no one behind, this slogan highlights the core objective of the annual event and brings to mind the need to heighten public awareness and action to improve our food systems and alleviate hunger,” he said.
According to Abubakar, the ministry is collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources to optimally harness all water resources available in producing areas including River Basins, Dams (around irrigable lands), and other wetlands for multiple cropping cycles.
He disclosed that the collaboration would be deployed for the 2023/2024 dry season farming with priority crops such as wheat, rice, maize, and cassava with a sustainable plan for up-scaling and replicating same for other crops, livestock, and fisheries across the federation.
On this note, I will use this occasion to reiterate our resolve to partner with all stakeholders who desire to genuinely support the sector and the Nigerian nation to take sustainable measures towards addressing issues impacting the attainment of our national food and nutrition security.
In his remarks, QU Dongyu, director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), said that there was a need for governments to design science and evidence-based policies for the effective management of available water.
He said that promoting water governance was critical to boosting business reputation and profits while helping them avoid risks that water scarcity, floods, and pollution could pose to operations in the future.
“Water, energy and food are inextricably linked, and for policies to be successful, they must manage often competing interests without compromising the health of our ecosystems.
“Our farmers need to become agents of water management and be equipped with the right tools to perform that function sustainably. Farmers, forest-dependent people, livestock producers, and those working in the blue economy of fisheries and aquaculture already manage water daily,” he said.