The Small Holder Farmers Association has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint a decisive, focused, competent and hardworking individual with integrity as Special Adviser for Food Security in Nigeria.
The body also identified lack of sufficient farm mechanisation, 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 as risk factors militating against the attainment of food sufficiency and food security in Nigeria.
President of the association, Architect Kabir Ibrahim, made the call while speaking on the topic “The Nexus Between National Security, Food Security During and After COVID-19 Pandemic in Nigeria: The SHFs (Small Holder Farmers) Enviable Role” at one of the industry’s events in Abuja recently.
Arc Ibrahim who expressed regrets on the level of insecurity in Nigeria, said
“Today there are serious insecurity situations like Boko Haram, herders, farmers clashes, kidnapping, banditry and very low purchasing power among the people.”
He said with the “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.”
He noted that, “The vehicle for the attainment of food sufficiency in Nigeria today is the SHF( Small Holder farmer) no polemics about it.”
“The lack of sufficient farm mechanisation, 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.
“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 posited.
Going down the memory lane, he said “Nigeria began to experience restlessness in 1985 soon after General Babangida took over as head of state after overthrowing the Buhari- Idiagbon administration.
“This might seem farfetched but discernible. The roots of restlessness sprouted from reversing the decisions taken against corruption and indiscipline stemming from the systemic failures of the second republic.
“To appreciate this thesis will require recapitulating the inequity and youth unemployment of those days sprouting from the mismanagement of the period 1979-1983.
“It will be better appreciated by those of us who were in the eye of the storm at that time.
“Young graduates at that time had no employment and general poverty pervaded the polity so much that those of us who acquired professional degrees were allowed up to set their professional practices without necessarily registering with their various regulating agencies through decree PPP,” he added.