Food Security: Expert calls for govt intervention on farming inputs, markets
An agric strategist, Mr Richard Ogundele, has called urged government at all levels to provide farmers with affordable farm inputs and access to ready markets for their produce.
Ogundele said in Lagos that such government intervention would create the environment conducive for efforts at ensuring food security.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, or FAO, identified the four pillars of food security as availability, access, utilization, and stability.
The United Nations (UN) recognized the Right to Food in the Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, and has since noted that it is vital for the enjoyment of all other rights
Ogundele is an intervention manager for Growth and Employment in States (GEMS), a project funded by the World Bank and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), in Nigeria.
According to the intervention manager, government needs to evolve a systemic approach that will guarantee increased access to finance at low interest rate and aggregation of clusters for bulk production.
“You cannot control what you do not contribute to. Government did not have control over the inputs that farmers used for production that is why prices are high.
“How much access to finance do farmers have and what is the interest rate? If you produce at a high cost, you are going to sell at a higher price.
“There are a lot of purchases in dollars across the borders, which is mopping up our agricultural produce thereby creating a strain on our internal demand.
“With this, you do not have enough left for local uses and when there is scarcity there will be high price for the few available produce,” he said.
Ogundele stressed the need for farmers to have access to guaranteed market otherwise they would opt to sell at higher prices across the country’s borders.
“Now that the naira has fallen drastically, most people want to export and make more money because they are earning dollars and not paying revenue to government.
“The situation is complex but government should try to balance it to ensure food sufficiency in the country,” Ogundele added.
He urged the government to invest in storage facilities, bridge financing gaps, increase research and technology and improve farmers’ access to extension workers.
He said once they were adopted, such strategies would engender rural development, income generation, employment creation, food security and industrial access to raw materials.