By Lawal Dahiru Mamman
Nigeria is so blessed with agricultural land that all that needs to be done is to tickle the soil with a hoe, and it smiles with a harvest. Therefore, the name Nigeria ought to be synonymous with agriculture by practice, not just by name, because our identity depicts agriculture; the green colour of the National flag shows land for agriculture, and the shield on the national coat of arms represents the fertile soil for same. Unfortunately, a good number of citizens suffer from malnutrition as a result of acute hunger.
In the assumption that there is insufficient rainfall, the name Nigeria was suggested in the late 19th century by a British journalist, Flora Shaw, who married the British colonial administrator Lord Frederick Lugard. The nomenclature was derived from the River Niger, which enters the country from the northwest and flows down to the Niger Delta, emptying into the Atlantic Ocean through its many tributaries. With this feature (if harnessed properly) alone, we could produce crops and rear animals all year round.
Before the discovery of crude oil in 1956, agriculture used to be the country’s mainstay. When the nation realised it had to reclaim its past glory, feeding the teaming population and directing funds otherwise used for importing various food items to other infrastructural and human capital development, boom! Insecurity strikes from different angles, with each geopolitical zone with its peculiarities. Going back may not be possible if insecurity is not squarely addressed because farmers are afraid of being killed or kidnapped away from the civilisation where they have their farms.
The vociferation to achieve self-sufficiency in Agriculture and food security in the country may not be feasible anytime soon because of insecurity. Poverty is the inability to access basic human needs like food, shelter, clothing, portable drinking water and medical care. Those in this category become angry at all other persons in the society because they believe the society has failed them by depriving them of their fundamental human rights. With food on the top of the chart for these basic necessities, the agriculturist believes that most of the world’s problems will be solved if food is made available and affordable.
These groups of people can easily be brainwashed by miscreants hell-bent on bringing the nation down to its knees, committing horrendous crimes against other humans and threatening the state’s sovereignty when offered as little as a meal.
In January 2020, the country became the largest rice-producing country in Africa, with 8 million tonnes per annum as against the total of 14.6 million tonnes produced in the continent, with progress being recorded in the production of other food crops simultaneously. At this point, citizens and even government officials started having a glimpse of hope in the independence we crave in agriculture. The hope faded into thin air when the agricultural practice became inversely proportional to insecurity. By implication, increased insecurity leads to a decrease in farming activities
This is because for a farmer to practice, they would have to look over their shoulder, making those still willing to produce have divided attention – which is not good for any practice willing to succeed while others abandon the profession in totality because ‘Life is Precious’.
For agricultural practice to continue and develop beyond the old-fashioned, the unwanted elements causing the unrest must be eliminated from the equation with efforts from the administrators, our gallant security forces and even citizens – by extending hands of fellowship to the less privileged.
Mamman, a corp member, writes from Abuja and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leave a Reply