Food security is a cardinal agenda of any serious nation and Nigeria should not be an exception to this universal goal. The country’s food security is threatened by activities of the terrorist organization, Boko Haram and bandits in the northern part of the country, where a bulk of the country’s food is produced. Food output has declined leading to a rise in the price of farm produce.
However, insecurity is not the only challenge farmers face during the course of the year in producing food for over 200 million people. Farmers need access to funding, access to farm implements and markets.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) provides loans to farmers at affordable rates to assist farmers under its Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
According to the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, “A total of 3,107,890 farmers had been financed for the cultivation of 3,801,397 hectares across 21 commodities through 23 Participating Financial Institutions in the 36 States of the Federation and FCT, from the inception of the programme till date,”.
With all the federal government’s efforts, why is food security still a disturbing concern? Investors consider the stability of the climate in which they would want to invest. The Nigerian farming climate despite the immense opportunities is bewiled by the herders’ attacks on farmers. This has affected yields and ultimately price of food items.
READ ALSO: EXCLUSIVE: Nigeria Grants Elon Musk’s SpaceX Satellite Operating Licence
The rising cases of insecurity in the country poses the highest threat to achieving food security in the country, no matter how many intervention programmes the Federal Government puts in place to assist local farmers.
Agriculture offers enormous employment opportunities for the country’s young population, and technology is being deployed to enhance farming activities from the use of drones in covering expansive landmass for crops monitoring, to crowdfunding activities to help fund farming projects. These efforts are geared towards attaining food security. However, it is largely in the hands of the government to ensure lives and businesses are protected, for farmers to conduct the business of farming.
Speaking on one of the ways to attaining food security for the country, the Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Farmcrowdy, Mr. Akindele Phillips, noted that, “food security is work in progress, we still have a long way to go, and if I would suggest to the authorities, I know there was a policy years ago where everyone was encouraged to produce something they eat. So, I can imagine you probably have a small garden in your backyard.
“The space can be used to produce vegetable bitter leaf that once in a while the lunch you prepare is made , thereby eliminate the need to buy from the market.”