It is no longer news that Nigeria as a country has the ability to produce food and other consumables for itself and the rest of the countries in the West African sub region. The big question one may then ask is that, why does the country still grapple with the incidences of food shortages, malnutrition, and wasteful spending on food commodities?
Going back to the 1970’s and early 1980’s, Nigeria was touted by the international community to be an emerging African giant (a cliché that hasn’t really materialized) capable of stunning the world through emerging developmental strides that would be made possible given its human and naturally occurring resources.
Unfortunately, over the years, the country has not only failed to live up to these predictions, but continue to sink deep in lack, making the once touted African giant to be mocked as the poverty capital of the world.
Many successive government had over the years designed agricultural programs that were supposed to be self sustaining, but issues of maladministration, corruption and a general lackadaisical attitude on the part of government and sometimes citizens has left no one in doubt, that except something drastic is done, the country will continue to be held bound by the evils of food importation and high importation costs that continue to further deplete a very lean cash reserve.
According to President Muhammadu Buhari, the nation did not have what he called unlimited resources to continue the importation of food items that could be produced locally, as such, the need to vigorously implement policies that would revive Nigeria’s agricultural sector and reposition it as the mainstay of the nation’s economy.
Fortunately, some Nigerians have shown foresight by building factories that process agricultural products within the country. They have created a value chain that boosts employment, protects the country’s foreign reserves and safeguard the economy from external shocks.
For food sufficiency to be achieved, Nigeria needs to help and encourage Nigerian farmers to adopt modern, technology-driven methods that guarantee higher production and returns on investment.
The government has several initiatives put in place to encourage farmers, and the border closure is the latest in the bid to make Nigerians more dependent on its own local produce.
Added to that, a lot of agriculture fintech startups have platforms where investors can connect directly to farmers, cutting out the middleman when it comes to funding. All of these are definitely going to increase food production, but there are still very big drawbacks that hamper local farmers, one that every Nigerian can relate to: erratic electricity. All the border closure, loans and funding might be in vain if the government doesn’t look