Urges Buhari to appoint Special Adviser on Food Security
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The President of All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, Architect Ibrahim Kabir, Saturday, warned that without adequate food the Coronavirus, COVID-19, situation will worsen as government fights to contain its spread in the country.
Kabir gave the warning based on his past experience of situations that had negative impact on the socio-economic lives of Nigerians and economy in general, which there were no clear policies and sustainable programmes then.
According to him, recapitulating the inequity and youth unemployment of those days sprouting from the mismanagement of the period 1979-1983 as young graduates at that time had no employment and general poverty pervaded the polity so much that graduates like him who acquired professional degrees were allowed to set their professional practices without necessarily registering with their various regulating agencies through decree PPP.
While the period between 1985 and 1991 witnessed a number of experiments with several economic models to turn the economic fortunes of the country around led to the beginning of the downward slide of the Naira, appeasement in governance not desirable or sustainable leadership and loyalty buying took centre stage in all facets of the society. “It will be better appreciated by those of us who were in the eye of the storm at that time.”
He said: “Today there are serious insecurity situations like Boko Haram, Herder/farmer clashes, kidnappings, banditry and very low purchasing power among the people.
“Now there is a global pandemic causing global economic meltdown triggering an all time low price of oil to compound our situation.
“Without adequate or sufficient food our situation will worsen. The vehicle for the attainment of food sufficiency in Nigeria today is the Small Holder Farmers, SHFs, no polemics about it.”
He also drew attention of the government to challenges affecting food production in the country and how they can be tackled.
“Lack of sufficient farm mechanization, inadequate energy to support value addition and prolonged shelf life of harvested perishable produce, post harvest losses due to poor handling and a host of other issues are risk factors to the attainment of food sufficiency and therefore food security.
“If the SHFs cannot readily go to their farms to grow what we will all eventually eat there will be untold hardship in Nigeria.”
Also the AFAN boss pointed out that the issue of national security and food security are like Siamese twins coupled with smallholder farmers as far as food production, availability, accessibility and affordability are concerned, hence the urgent need to appoint a Special Adviser on Food Security by President Muhammadu Buhari, which he tagged as ‘The Nexus Between National Security, Food Security During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic inDuring and After the COVID-19 Pandemic in Nigeria: The SHFS’ (Small Holder Farmers’) Enviable role’.
“National Security, Food Security and the SHFs in Nigeria are inextricably connected and must therefore be the centre piece in the mitigation of the economic effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“The Buhari Administration must appoint a Special Adviser on Food Security forthwith who must be a decisive, focused, competent, hardworking individual with integrity”, he stated.