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Reasons impeding Nigeria food security

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By Usman Oladimeji

Inadequate funding is one of the factors impeding agricultural sector.

Food insecurity in Nigeria has become a major pressing issue seeing how malnutrition is prevalent, particularly in the rural area of the country and mostly among children and women. Currently, 17 million people in Nigeria are at risk of food insecurity with a projection to increase to 25.3 million people between June-August 2023 lean season. Rural dwellers account largely for this figure as they are highly vulnerable to chronic food shortages, malnutrition, unbalanced nutrition, erratic food supply, and poor quality foods.

Sani Miko, a lecturer at Bayero University Kano’s (BUK) Agronomy Department in the Faculty of Agriculture, cited some factors causing Nigeria’s lack of food security. He therefore categorized the factors endangering food security in the country into two groups which are internal and external policy challenges. The University Don made these remarks during the annual Ramadan speech in Kano organized by Islamic Forum of Nigeria National Headquarters, where he discussed a paper titled “Policy Challenges To Food Security in Nigeria.”

Agricultural sector has historically received inadequate funding.

In his remarks, inadequate funding for agriculture is one of the many factors hindering Nigeria’s agricultural industry from reaching its full potential. He argued that the existing allocation of resources directed to agricultural development was insufficient to propel the industry forward. The agricultural sector has historically received inadequate funding from both the federal and state governments. Between 2000 – 2007, for instance, the federal government spent 1.3% – 3.4% of its total budget on agriculture.

Subsequently, in 2017 just 1.8% of the entire yearly budget of the federal and state governments was allocated to agriculture. He however pointed out that more resources would be needed in order to accomplish agricultural transformation in the country. Another prominent aspect that is adversely influencing the Nigerian agricultural sector is the threat of climate change for sustainable agriculture. Even so, the policy response to this issue and the necessary interventions to lessen its impact have remained largely ad-hoc.

Notwithstanding CBN intervention farmers still face challenges.

Another key aspect is the increased insecurity of agricultural land and investments today posing risk to agricultural production, processing, marketing, and supply of essential services. Hundreds of agricultural and pastoral communities have seen their livelihoods and investments wiped out by the threat posed by Boko Haram, banditry, and communal, farmers and pastoralists disputes. In addition, is the paucity of affordable and accessible farm equipment including tractors, planters, and harvesters. Also is the inadequate rural infrastructure that has hampered rural areas’ capacity to cultivate and secure farming processes.

With the average of 1 in 10,000 extensions to farmers throughout the nation, Miko also mentioned the problem of poor extension services delivery to farmers in terms of obtaining support and training in technology adoption. Notwithstanding CBN intervention, farmers still face challenges, including a lack of access to affordable credit and excessive interest rates. Another problem is insufficient collaboration between federal and state governments, which stems from inefficient policymaking and execution frameworks inside and across federal Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs). This has fueled ongoing competition between different agencies in the field.

Nigeria must reassess its partnerships with global organizations.

However, Miko argued that it would be difficult for a country like Nigeria to attain food security via internal dynamics alone, given the interrelated nature of international economic linkages. Achieving food security requires a combination of national and international efforts. As such, Nigeria must reassess its partnerships with global, regional, and sub-regional organizations including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the European Union (EU), and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). It would also include reaching out to nations that may be impacted by Nigeria’s agricultural, food, and economic policies in order to gain their cooperation and understanding.

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