Calls on FG to avert disaster in food system
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, weekend, expressed discomfort over high food prices and looming hunger across the country based on worrisome factors pervading the food system currently.
This was expressed in a statement signed by the National President, Arc Kabir Ibrahim, and made available to Vanguard, where some pertinent issues were made known as major threats to the food system, which also made the association to call on the Federal Government to move fast and avert collapse of the food system.
According to AFAN current soaring prices of food items in the country is a risk factor in attainment of the desired food security in Nigeria if nothing is done to cushion the effects that would result to more socio-economic crisis.
The statement with subject ‘To Avert Disaster In Nigeria’s Food System Challenged By COVID-19, Insecurity, Flooding and Soaring Prices of Food Items’ reads in part, “The soaring prices of food items currently being experienced is a risk factor in the attainment of the desired food security in Nigeria as for there to be real food security anywhere in the world a number of factors have to be right namely: Availability of food generally; and Affordability of nutritionally balanced diet.
“The farmers are definitely putting in their best to make food available but the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Insecurity, Flooding, drought in some areas, inadequate Technology, Power, Good seeds and veritable inputs are debilitating impediments to the up-scaling of productivity.
“A commonsensical appraisal of this situation and good economics will show that once the demand exceeds supply there is bound to be inflation which directly affects affordability.
“To say that there is no hunger in Nigeria today is not only arrogant and obtuse but delusionary especially coming from some of the chief drivers of agriculture.”
The association also called on the government to act now, “The Government should as a matter of urgency take proactive and decisive action in reappraising the management of the entire food system to bring about food sufficiency and the desired food security sustainably.
“The adhoc interventions and the several windows of support from the CBN and various agencies including the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development must be accessed by and made available to all farmers and all regions and not just a select few sustainably by institutionalizing them.
“National food security is not a “one-off” episode or for particular regions but must be for the whole country to be sustainably impactful.
“The Presidency has luckily evolved a “feed-back” mechanism by convening a meeting in the office of the Chief of Staff to x-ray some the immediate and remote causes of the prevailing turbulence in the food system.
“The inadequate and threatening disaster in the poultry and animal feed definitely woke us from our seeming slumber to address the issues squarely.
“The first meeting by carefully selected stakeholders in the food system that preceded the Food Security Council meeting of 10th September, 2020 had a far reaching effect on the decisions made at the Food Security Council the next day which led to the inspection of the flood incidents of Kebbi and Jigawa etc to enable government to be able to directly assess the situation as done already by the Honourable Minister of Agriculture on Saturday and Sunday.
“This is absolutely necessary and evidently desirable even though a bit late. The farmers affected all over the country must be assisted to go back to their farms promptly a as promised by the President”, it added.
The association also called for transparency in prudence in rendering assistance to farmers no matter the situation or location in order to have confidence of farmers and Nigerians as they are watching the process and how it is being done by those assigned by government to carry out such interventions.
“We advise that the effort to assist the farmers will be more impactful if it is transparently and judiciously implemented by a combination of farmer associations and honest public servants as well as traditional rulers in all the affected areas.
To firmly and sustainably mitigate these losses the farmers are on their part already talking with National Agricultural Insurance Corporation, NAIC, to insure all their agricultural investments going forward.”
Meanwhile, the association also urged farmers to prepare and be proactive in mitigating the waiting disaster in the food system.
“To mitigate this disaster waiting to happen, the farmers are enjoined to adopt all round production using ground water as well as the Fadama areas and the use of the dams available all over the place”, it advised.