In the pursuit of genuine and lasting food security, Nigeria must move beyond one-off releases from strategic reserves and establish veritable food banks across all six geopolitical zones. To achieve this, we must focus on building a robust food system by addressing key pillars: production, storage, processing, distribution and consumption.
1. Production: Empowering farmers requires a multifaceted approach. Ensuring their security on the farms is essential, enabling seamless operations. Additionally, supporting farmers in deploying Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) is crucial for compliance with Good Agricultural Practices (GAP). This includes optimising mechanisation, providing relevant education and fostering efficient agribusiness through the creation of Incubation Centers and Agriculture Intelligence Centers nationwide.
2. Processing: Maximising processing capabilities and implementing efficient value-addition measures are imperative. This approach will not only boost sufficiency but also reduce dependence on imports and potentially enhance exportation in the long run. Achieving this goal necessitates a comprehensive repositioning of the energy sector to function effectively.
3. Storage: Cold storage facilities and well-managed dry storage are indispensable in reducing post-harvest losses and extending the shelf life of farm produce. The pursuit of these storage solutions should be vigorous to ensure a more resilient and sustainable food supply chain.
4. Distribution: The effective and efficient distribution of farm produce and processed goods from production sites to areas of need is a cornerstone of an efficient food system. Streamlining this process ensures that the benefits of increased production reach consumers seamlessly.
5. Consumption: Promoting controlled and responsible food consumption is crucial. It not only minimises waste but also mitigates the emission of methane from decaying foods, addressing a significant threat to climate change. This approach aligns with global efforts to enhance food security while tackling environmental challenges.
The Federal Government, state governments, FCT and the 774 local government areas of Nigeria must collaboratively and continuously pursue these parameters. Only through sustained efforts across these pillars can we achieve a truly impactful and sustainable food security system that addresses the complexities of our nation’s agricultural landscape.
Ibrahim is the national president, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.