A lecturer in the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Dr. Olabode Badiru, has called on the government to pay more attention to food security in the country to address the rising cost of foodstuffs.
Dr Badiru also called on the government to address insecurity, saying farmers are afraid of going to farm. The don, who gave the advice while speaking with journalists in Ibadan, urged individuals to embrace backyard farming with a view to reducing spending on some food items.
Lamenting that most of the farm machines and chemicals used by farmers are all imported, he emphasised that “these may have effects on what they will produce.”
According to him, the farmer needs fertiliser and also other agro-chemicals like pesticides, insecticides and others to address the problem of pest. All of these will cost money. Beyond that, we have problem of insecurity where farmers are being chased away from the farm.”
Reducing the rising cost of food requires some efforts from individuals and the government at all levels, he advised, and at the individual level, backyard farming could help to reduce the need for purchase of food.
He advised Nigerians to grow vegetables and other edible plants, raise small animals like sheep and goats and raise poultry within their compounds. Beyond the backyards, he also said youths should be encouraged to go into farming despite the challenges involved.
“The government at all levels, especially the states, should stop paying lip service to food security issues. They must provide the enabling environment for willing citizens to engage in agriculture.
“Security is key. Banditry and kidnapping should be confronted headlong. Infrastructure, such as road and electricity, should be improved to aid logistics and value addition respectively.
“We can start by pushing viable research products to the farms for adoption to enhance farm productivity through a functional agricultural extension system.
“Essentially, we must look for innovative ways of bringing the unit cost of agricultural production down, among other measures,” he said.