ABUJA- Arc Kabir Ibrahim, National President of All Farmers Association of Nigeria(AFAN) has warned that the current high level of insecurity plaguing the country will lead to food shortage in 2021.
A statement by Ibrahim entitled “The Nexus between Insecurity and Food Security: AFAN Experience,” he lamented that every part of the country is currently grappling with its own form of insecurity.
He noted that the most vulnerable segment of the society bearing the brunt of the insecurity is the small holder farmers(SHFs), who are the engine room of food production in Nigeria.
According to Ibrahim, “The aggregate food production by the SHFs is the bedrock on which the food system rests in Nigeria, therefore extreme care should be taken to offer them the necessary protection to continue the assiduous work to feed the nearly 200 million mouths in Nigeria today.
“The farmers cannot readily access their farms in the North East, North West and a good part of the North Central which constitute the food basket of the country, so it is absolutely necessary to secure the farmlands and the farmers who work on the land.
“The incidents of burning of police stations in the South East, the
farmer/herder conflicts in the South West and the kidnappings and general insecurity in the South South portend food shortage in the whole nation in 2021 and this therefore calls for concerted effort from all and sundry, government most of all.
“For Nigeria to avoid the impending fragility and national catastrophe’, the insecurity situation occasioned by Boko Haram, banditry, kidnapping and the IPOB menace has to be tackled decisively.
“The Armed forces are clearly overstretched in this fight going by the spread of the insecurity all over the country.
“It is now everybody’s responsibility to make the country livable by securing the nooks and crannies of the nation through improvisations and even disruptive innovation where needed!”
Commenting on the recent release of Annual Flood Outlook by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency(NIHSA), he advised that farmers should be educated on the best methods to adopt to mitigate the effect of flooding in the food system.
“The effect of flooding during the 2020 farming season going by the experience of Kebbi, Jigawa and Anambra States could be very threatening to the food system so a deliberate effort should be put in place to mitigate a reoccurrence as predicted by NIMET and the Directorate of hydrological Services of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources.
“Farmers should be incentivised to do three cropping seasons in most of the flood prone areas to make up for the shortfall sprouting from the perennial flooding.
“The resettlement of farmers and providing them with good inputs and finance will go along way to improve food production in order to be able to mitigate food insecurity,” he explained.
On the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) initiative in the implementation of Anchors Borrowers Programme (ABP), Ibrahim advised that “ABP should be properly and carefully managed by making sure that the real farmers are supported instead of the rumors making the rounds that some fraudulent people are round tripping the so-called surplus produce to make it look like the APB is succeeding.
According to him, “Given the level of the CBN investment in agriculture and the availability of food in Nigeria is clearly far less than the investment so far, especially,judging from the skyrocketing food prices across the whole nation,” he counseled that the national food system should be coordinated as an emergency to avert imminent collapse and crushing fragility.
“It is necessary to take due cognisance of the COVID-19 pandemic on food security but we must note that food insecurity is a more devastating factor to our survival!
“New managers of the food system are desired to make Nigeria food sufficient now,” he said.