Way before the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic, food scarcity remains a universal worry. However, in certain parts of the world, the issue of food insecurity is far worse. This is owing to a number of fundamental issues in such locations, including violent conflicts and instability, climate concerns, development and leadership shortfalls, and financial crises, among others. Nigeria is a nation endowed with immense human and natural resources that, if fully utilised, can nourish its people and sell excesses to other nations; yet the country is enduring a recurrent food crisis as regards to both volume and value. Starvation and poor nutrition cases are increasing by the day.
The bulk of Nigerians’ food consumption needs are well below the global benchmark. Efforts in the past to increase food security through agricultural productivity have clearly failed. The growth of the oil industry and the enormous cash generated by the industry moved attention away from agriculture to the point that even local food production is not meeting the expected demand. The government reasoned that it was preferable to bring foods from other countries than to start producing it locally, notably because oil revenue had transformed most Nigerians’ appetites in favour of foreign imported commodities.
It is important to know that food is not like any other commodity; it is an essential and crucial aspect in a country’s drive for economic progress. As an unavoidable commodity, all attention must be directed at assuring its ample supply for long-term economic growth and human existence. In Nigeria, the majority of food is made by poor farmers located across remote areas, rather than multinational corporations that produce on a massive level for export and profit. Agricultural policy must address these poor farmers and their rural settings if the aim of food security is to be reached.
Here is a documentary I did that talks more on this issue. Enjoy!