The Nigeria’s President-elect, Bola Tinubu, has been advised to declare a state of emergency on food production, immediately he assumes duty. The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Agro-Allied Group, made the call while setting an agenda for the President-elect, on agriculture. The chairman of the group, Kola Aderibigbe, in an interview, said that with the current situation and high cost of farming, food processing and availability, cost of food and distribution with high poverty level, the new government should focus on food security by declaring state of emergency.
He said, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of United Nations, food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food, which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. He said the government should tackle food insecurity systematically in a way to inspire all stakeholders, including cities everywhere in Nigeria, to improve access to sufficient, safe, healthy, cost-effective and sustainable food production for all citizens. “Each local government should be segmented according to its comparative and competitive advantage in food production. With a better understanding of the geographic and socio-economic factors that drive food insecurity, cities can determine which neighbourhoods to prioritise”, he added.
Aderibigbe said the new administration must tackle insecurity, stressing that it is no longer news on how farmers have been driven away from various farm gates due to high security risk. “Many have been killed and crops are being destroyed. I am a witness to such atrocities. A robust security environment is very critical to make farmers walk-the-talk of providing food sufficiency as mandated. Speaking further, he said there is the need to encourage more mechanisation of farming among the small player by making available required machinery, tractors, and other small-scale equipment at various farm settlement area, stating that this will in turn, encourage the youth to embrace agriculture, and make tractors and other equipment available for farmer to access at every local council, at a good rental cost”, Aderibigbe stated.
“Bank of Agriculture should wake up to her roles in making funds available at single digit rate to large/medium scales farmers, who intend to import heavy agric machinery”, as Aderibigbe further called on the President-elect, to involve farmers in policy formulation and implementation, stating that many policies are being made without agriculture stakeholders being part of the formation process. He noted that this lacuna had really caused lots of damages into the agriculture space. “Government always engage consultants, who have not practiced farming in all their lives. There should be round peg in the round hole; not the other way round. A consultant must be someone that have gotten through pitfalls of farming with vast experience in solution-provision to various farm problems”, the LCCI Agro-Allied Group Chairman added.