By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
As the world’s population is predicted by United Nations to hit 8 billion by November 15, 2022, with Nigeria’s standing at over 210 million, the All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, Tuesday, demanded incentives to produce more food to feed the huge population.
This was the reaction of the National President, AFAN, Arc Kabir Ibrahim, over the fast growing Nigerian population which food production is at an arithmetic dimension.
Ibrahim maintained that without proper incentives for farmers the over 210 million mouths will face severe hunger if deliberate efforts are not made to boost farmers’capacity to produce food.
He said: “The smallholder farmers should be properly incentivized to produce more by ensuring security, the provision of readily affordable seeds, fertilizers and other inputs as well as adequate mechanization and encouragement to adopt relevant technologies and innovations.
“The existence of large arable land, abundant water resources,other land resources and mineral resources should help to bolster agricultural productivity in Nigeria.
“Other areas to exploit to feed Nigeria’s large population include adopting all year round cultivation of crops,enhancing the livestock sector, adopting climate Smart agriculture, fully embracing agricultural Biotechnology and making serious investments as well as promoting agribusiness generally.
“The abundant very good policies largely on paper should be properly implemented by appointing capable hands at all levels to drive Agricultural production,storage, processing, distribution and even consumption in order to evolve a veritable food system that should sustainably feed our large population.
“Research findings should be made readily available to our farmers to enable them optimize Agricultural production too.”
However, the AFAN boss call on government and the private sector to implore effective strategies in mobilising the young population to the agricultural sector.
“Agriculture should be treated as a business by creating an enabling environment to make it thrive. The enablers are: Address the power issue to enable processing, cold storage thereby elongating the shelf lives of otherwise perishable crops and value addition generally.
“Make easily available and affordable credit to the youth to enable them invest in Agriculture at processing and agritrade level; Give access to industrialization hubs to the youth seamlessly.”
He also called on the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, to deploy huge number of corps members to the agricultural sector.
“It will be wonderful to fully engage the youth corps members in Agriculture because we will evolve an educated critical mass to turn it around.
“It will further consolidate the fact that Agriculture is a veritable business tool in the creation of jobs and wealth sustainably”, he stated.
Meanwhile, he (Ibrahim) pointed that with the current situation with food production, the government and private sector should collaborate to establish more agro industrial areas for food production and employment generation.
“I support the idea of encouraging Public Partnership Public, PPP, model of agro-industrial development as it will definitely generate employment for our otherwise unemployed youth”, he added.