By Arc Kabir Ibrahim
Insecurity in Nigeria is covering a larger geographical space now than essentially the North East and North West, hitherto!
Every part of the country is grappling with its own form of insecurity today as espoused by discussions in social media often time corroborated by government bulletins.
The most vulnerable segment of the society bearing the brunt of this insecurity is the smallholder farmers (SHFs) who are the engine room of food production in Nigeria, of course, largely due to inadequate mechanization!
The aggregate food production by the smallholder farmers (SHFs) is the bedrock on which the food system rests in Nigeria, therefore extreme care should be taken to offer them the necessary protection to continue the assiduous work to feed the nearly 200,000,000 mouths in Nigeria today.
The farmers cannot readily access their farms in the North East, North West and a good part of the North Central which constitute the food basket of the country so it is absolutely necessary to secure the farmlands and the farmers who work the land.
The incidents of burning of police stations in the South East, the farmer/herder conflicts in the South West and the kidnappings and general insecurity in the South-South portend food shortage in the whole nation in 2021 and this therefore calls for concerted effort from all and sundry, government most of all.
The forecasts of flooding by NIMET and the enumeration of possible prone areas by the Directorate of hydrology of the FMWR further make the desired food sufficiency effort more precarious and so the farmers should be educated on the best methods to adopt to mitigate the effect of flooding in the food system.
For Nigeria to avoid the impending fragility and national catastrophe’, the insecurity situation occasioned by Boko Haram, Banditry, kidnapping and the IPOB menace has to be tackled decisively.
The Armed forces are clearly overstretched in this fight going by the spread of the insecurity all over the country.
It is now everybody’s responsibility to make the country livable by securing the nooks and crannies of the nation through improvisations and even disruptive innovation where needed!
The effect of flooding during the 2020 farming season going by the experience of Kebbi, Jigawa, and the Anambra States could be very threatening to the food system so a deliberate effort should be put in place to mitigate a reoccurrence as predicted by NIMET and the Directorate of hydrological Services of the FMWR.
Farmers should be incentivized to do three cropping seasons in most of the flood-prone areas to make up for the shortfall sprouting from the perennial flooding.
The resettlement of farmers and providing them with good inputs and finance will go along way to improve food production in order to be able to mitigate food insecurity.
The CBN’s ABP should be properly and carefully managed by making sure that the real farmers are supported instead of the rumors making the rounds that some fraudulent people are round tripping the so-called surplus produce to make it look like the APB is succeeding.
Given the level of the CBN investment in Agriculture, the availability of food in Nigeria is clearly far less than the investment so far, especially, judging from the skyrocketing food prices across the whole nation.
The National food system should be coordinated as an emergency to avert imminent collapse and crushing fragility.
It is necessary to take due cognizance of the COVID-19 pandemic on food security but we must note that food insecurity is a more devastating factor to our survival!
New managers of the food system are desired to make Nigeria food sufficient. NOW!