NIGERIA: The recent food crisis in Nigeria has seen prices of consumable and non-consumable goods escalating to an unbearable condition. This has left many Nigerians starving. Despite President Mohammedu Buhari’s continued agitation for Nigerians to invest more in agriculture, food items have continued to soar higher than expected.
However, as the dry season approaches, access to affordable food items becomes harder and difficult for low-income earners.
Could this be attributed to the banned place on importation of food items into the country by President Mohammedu Buhari?
Lack of modern knowledge in the farming system, proper storage means and clear government agricultural policies are the contributing factors to the issue.
However, According to the Food Agriculture Organization of United Nations survey conducted in October 2021 in 20 states across Nigeria, revealed that about 12 million people will face hunger as insecurity and covid-19 pandemic effects continue to bite harder. This they attributed to high inflation, insecurity, and loss of employment.
Skyrocketing food prices in Nigeria
In Nigeria, lockdowns, curfews, and inter-state border closures have been part of the government’s responses to the pandemic. It has led to a hike in food prices. Some Nigerians believe that the continued price hike in food items in the country is due to the problem of insecurity or insurgency that seems like something that will never come to an end.
Banditry, Fulani-Herders clashes, religion, and ethnic skirmish has booted out farmers from their farms.
According to the Global Terrorism Index, about 800 deaths were recorded as a result of Fulani-Herders clashes in 2015. In 2018, more than 200 persons were killed and 50 houses were burnt. Two years later, in 2020, 32 farmers were also killed in the Fulani-Herders’ clash.
However, the lack of adequate means of price regulation or price control by the government has in many ways added to the lingering issue of food scarcity.
The government needs to set a workable means of controlling the price of food commodities in the market as it will help in its proper flow.
A country where every trader sells his or her goods at the price they deemed fit, will continue to generate issues of price escalation and it will be difficult to control.
Days are gone where rural dwellers send raw food items or urban-based buy from the locals to urban areas. Now it is viz-a-viz, the people in the rural area now buy food items from the city. These are all the causes of bandits which have prevented the farmers from accessing their farmlands.
In some instances, levies are imposed on farmer by the bandits who wants to cultivate his or her farm produce without inference.
Solution to the food crisis
The Nigerian government needs to take the agricultural sector and the farmers seriously by empowering them with adequate and required farm tools such as improved seeds and modern means of farming machinery.
Presdient Mohammadu Buhari’s administration has now come up with different farmers’ empowerment schemes such as trader moni, Conditional cash transfer, and survival funds. These schemes are intended to complement and empower the needy and the farmers to burst their farming occupation.
The improved road network will also go a long way in complementing the process of bringing the food produce home. Statistically, Nigeria has the largest road network in West Africa and the second largest in the south of the Sahara, with roughly 108,000 km of surfaced roads in 1990.
However, they are poorly maintained and are often cited as a cause for the country’s high rate of road fatalities and as well contributed to the problem of food scarcity and hike in the price of commodities.
Therefore, if Nigeria can improve in its road construction the food scarcity and its price will be reduced to the nearest minimum.
Electrification has also contributed to the issue of food scarcity. Rural electrification will be an added advantage to the rural dwellers as they will be able to process and preserve their farm produce for effective use.
Lastly, food security is another vital way in which both the federal and state governments need to focus on achieving abundant food production. This will go in line with creating awareness, education, and sanitizing farmers on the need to have the required knowledge about food security and preservation.
Insurgency in Nigeria seems like what has come to stay, therefore the Nigerian government needs to take a drastic measure in ending the insecurity to allow farmers access to their farmland for motivation and harvest.
Road network needs to be improved to allow farmers easy conveying of their farm produce back home.
Improved rural electrification will assist farmers in terms of preservation and storage as such the economy of Nigeria will improve.
Also Read: Nigeria’s Economy Expected to Rise by 2.5 Percent in 2022, Says World Bank