Expert urges Nigeria to adopt Songhai agric model to boost food security, fight poverty
An agriculturist, Prof. Godfrey Nzamujo, on Thursday urged the three tiers of government in the country to adopt the Songhai model of agriculture to boost food security and fight poverty.
Nzamujo, speaking in Abuja, said that the Songhai model, which involved integrated farming, should be adopted because of its capacity to boost agricultural productivity considerably.
He said that the government should change its approach in its efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adding that it should adopt the Songhai model, which relied on the use of God-given resources, to accomplish this target.
He said that the Songhai model had demonstrated that with deliberate investment in agriculture, Nigeria would be able to increase its revenue and reduce its dependence on petroleum as its sole foreign exchange earner.
Nzamujo said that the Songhai model was an innovative approach that could be used to tackle challenges, such as food insecurity and poverty, environmental degradation and unemployment, facing African governments.
“Nigeria needs to key into this new vision of making agriculture a weapon of mass construction, instead of mass destruction. Agriculture, if it is done in the Songhai way, will be a weapon of mass development.
“We need to wake up and see that there is hope in this country; we should begin to invest in agriculture by harnessing the myriad opportunities available in our river basin development authorities.
“The Songhai model is the mother for all commercial farming techniques; it promotes sustainable farming for food, for entrepreneurship and so on,’’ he said.
Nzamujo moaned that African countries were still living in poverty in spite of their abundant natural and human resources, adding that with sustained investments in agriculture, Nigeria’s economy would improve appreciably.
He said that Nigeria, with its huge population, must urgently initiate designed efforts to reduce hunger and unemployment, saying with the adoption of the Songhai model, effective use of small land areas for maximum impact would be encouraged.
Nzamujo said although large number of Nigerians engaged in agriculture, they were only involved in smallholding farms, adding that there was a need to promote commercial agriculture.
He said that the Federal Government’s partnership with Songhai Farms Limited in Benin Republic would ensure the pragmatic use of freshwater and land resources, while empowering farmers to create wealth.