Sunday, October 28, 2012
The Looming Food Scarcity
If the government wants to tackle the looming scarcity headlong, it should not pay lip service to it. So far, the Federal Government has demonstrated a high level of commitment on the issue of floods that have taken over various parts of the country in recent times. By now, there should be a workable master-plan on how to grow our food crops in Nigeria to cater for our citizens. However, one point still remains valid -- we are not fully exploiting the vast agricultural potential of the country. The minister of agriculture should begin to set up strategy on how to ensure stable supply of grains to farmers who are not affected by the floods. He should also begin to see the need to encourage more commercial farmers to go into increased food production. He should schedule town hall meetings with all Nigerian commercial farmers where opinions can be sought on the way forward for affected farmers. Some of us have criticized the Federal Government's budget allocation for agriculture in 2013. Nevertheless, if well-managed, the money can turn around the agricultural sector within the first half of 2013 through improved investment in arable farming. Some of the N17.4 billion intervention fund announced by President Goodluck Jonathan should be properly distributed to commercial farmers that have suffered so much in the course of the disaster. Importation should be a secondary option in the wake of the food crisis that is looming in our country. This is a clarion call for our leaders to encourage our people to produce our food crops locally for consumption and export purposes. It is about time we began to take practical steps in combating the "sit-down-look" syndrome that has eaten deep into our governance.