Nigeria, imagine you have a set of determined leaders with good structures and policies that emphasised the effective use of our natural endowment in the various regions and zones without tribal, religion or gender bias for national growth and development, coupled with faithful followers, who are ready to address this issue for once. Dedication of 40-50% of the national revenue to acquire modern farming equipment, distributed into the geopolitical zones to embark on large scale production of agricultural products that they are naturally endowed with when compared with others.
Or, is what we should opt for is a re-structured and coordinated agricultural sector saddled with the responsibility of producing at the rate that is capable of feeding and maintaining every other national sector within each community using its own people, natural endowment, creativity and natural ideologies such as locally-tested research findings, which introduced us to the educational systems from the cradle. Let’s see what the results would look like for just two to five years from now!
Going further, can we have a sincere deliberation on this topic, Massive food production for the nation: Whose role? Is it for the government or masses to do? Private or public sector? This is the puzzle for you faithful Nigerians and is coming from this writer. Perhaps, I may be right to address the issue from our population figure. Nigeria, what is your correct population figure? Can you affirm your data, as proclaimed by the National Population Commission (NPC)? Assuming that your response is, yes. Now, who is expected to champion the task of feeding the nation and the people? Is it the government?
I mean is it the sole responsibility of the group, simply defined as the elected members of the population, well-furnished with defined roles and responsibilities of managing both human and non-human resources of their nation, to create an enabling environment by establishing, maintaining and monitoring the said structure, for the development of the citizens and the nation at large. Or, is it the masses and the people? The citizens, the said population figure, or true sons and daughters of the soil, who have Nigeria as their only land of nativity, of which they’re proud of and being identified with.
Now, the question is, who is expected to feed us? The bitter truth is that our country at 63 years, requires ‘glorified deliverance’ from the slavery of the colonial masters. To ask further, who amongst us is to be held accountable? Or, is it our elected leaders in public owned-institutions, the rich among us in private bodies, the elderly, young adults, the youths, the teens, and babies, among others? All nations of the world acknowledged the importance of food, especially quality food, for human existence. Certainly, no man denies the roles played by food in nourishing the soul and spirit for our survival.
To aspire to become a solid nation, we need to get it right, be ready to come out and take the bull by the horns by providing the right and sincere answer to this unanswered question. Then, the issue of ‘how to produce’, to meet the demands of the assumed population, which is ever increasing at an alarming rate could be better addressed. Whether to produce with the use of traditional methods and farming tools, at the rate of production during the Lord Fredrick Lugard era of old, is our take? Or, producing using millennium age, technically-advanced methods and machinery is our choice in answering the question, of ‘who feeds the nation’?
Dr. (Mrs.) Mary Adebayo is a young researcher in Animal Physiology. Her research interest focuses on livestock production and environmental influences on their performance in the tropics. She has been a teacher of agricultural science at both primary and secondary levels of education in Nigeria for more than two decades. She is passionate about animal production in a serene environment with minimal usage of drugs. She consults for livestock farmers based on her wealth of knowledge and experience on the relevance of animal physiology for improved production performance of every farm animal. She can be reached, via: firstname.lastname@example.org