Reviving the Field: Addressing Food Scarcity by Returning to Our Agricultural Roots

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Over the years, Nigeria has been known as the giant of Africa, but how come the giant has lose its strength to hunger?. There is a popular saying that no matter the famine in the land, a loin will not eat grass. This is an attribute that makes the lion king of the jungle. But how come about my dear nation Nigeria, how come the king now eat grass? How come the giant is now feeble? We need to wake up and go to the root of our problem, fight as giants would to get victory.

One rich possession of my dear nation “Nigeria” is the fruitfulness of her land, it is a land flowing with milk and honey, a land that is filled with fertility and natural resources, the land is one of her priceless heritage and a source of survival for the people. Every symbol of the nation emphasizes the fertility and wealth of the nation. How come is her people suffering from what her land can produce with ease? How come do her children suffer from lack of her milk when the breast has not lost its fountain? Her breast is still edible and young yet the people run from it.

The Nigeria fertile ground is so significant that several identities of the nation reveals it. The black shield in the Nigeria coat of arms represent the nation’s fertile soil, the green and white twists of the horse on the top of the shield represent the rich soil. The Nigeria flags colour also signifies rich agriculture. What else should I be convinced with to know how fertile my fatherland is? What then went wrong with the land? Was the fertility In the land washed way by flood? How come the Nigeria my parents and heroes past talked about seem an illusion from what it is now? How come the past seemed glorious? Isn’t the glory of the latter supposed to be greater than the former?.

Agriculture is not just a local terminology as some people seem it to be, agriculture is an occupation, a source of nation’s economy and investment. Agriculture is the practices of growing crops and rearing animals for produce of food, fiber and other products that people need. The definition is an eye opener as to how vast and comprehensive agriculture is. It is not just an act of tilling the ground or just spreading and planting seeds on it. It is a deliberate, conscious and consistent practice of growing of all types of crops. Crops here may be grains, vegetable, tubers etc.

Agriculture is the process of rearing animals. Those animals are used majorly for getting proteins substance needed for the body. We get beef, chicken, eggs etc. Also fibreare gotten from agriculture. Some of the fibre are used to make clothes, shoes and bags.

The history of agriculture in Nigeria date far back to the colonial era. Subsistence agriculture was overwhelming dominant on the eve of the European colonial rule in Nigeria. Nigeria was famous for the export of groundnut and palm oil but over the years the rate of the export of these produce has reduced.

Farming should be an attractive vocation to Nigerians because food is a basic and essential need for survival without food in our stomach, everything else is meaningless. A hungry man is an angry man. Hunger is a universal language, it does not discriminate on the basis of colour, creed, region, class, status and religion. The ideology that farming is a poor occupation is what has mostly made the rate of costly sold farm produce in the market.

According to Anthony Owei, founder and CEO at Tongve farms, “Many do see agriculture as a multidimensional tool to fight hunger, poverty, unemployment and diseases to a standstill. Many do not see it as a business that will be built to transcend generations. Many think they are doing those who buy their produce a favour not knowing they are in business to solve people’s food problems and their rewards/wealth is dependent on those problems they solve”.

Agriculture is a major contributor to Nigeria’s GDP because it was the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy, contributing about 60-70% of the GDP in 1960s. It was the major source of export earnings with products like cocoa, palm oil, groundnut and rubber being significant but the discovery of oil lead to a decline in the focus on agriculture which made the sector contributes about 24-27% of the GDP in recent years. Apart from the economic contribution of agriculture, its also fulfill many of our basic needs like food, clothing, shelter, fuel and medicines. Agriculture this directly or indirectly supports the majority of human basic needs, making it an essential sector for human well-being. The sector is vital for employment, providing jobs for a large portion of the population. The main agricultural products includes cassava, yam, maize, rice and cocoa among others.

The adage “a hungry nation is a poor nation” reveal the fundamental role that food security plays a greater role in the well-beingand economic stability of a country. Food is a fundamental human need and without adequate nutrition, a population cannot maintain health productivity and quality of life. Most Nigerians cannot afford some agricultural items in the market due to high cost of the produce. Example is the cost of pepper and tomatoes in the market. If every Nigeria decides to farm the produce In their various garden, price of the produce will reduce. Country that do not produce enough food domestically rely on imports to meet their needs which causes the high price of the items due to the rate of dollar to naira. Despite Nigeria oil wealth, the importance of agriculture and food security cannot be overstated. If Nigerians fail to go back to agriculture, the nation’s economy will keep deteriorating. Even if every citizen is given huge amount of money, it will still be little due to the scarcity of food and high cost of farm produce.

Tackling food scarcity by going back to our farming roots is essential. By focusing on agriculture, ensure that everyone has enough to eat, boost the nation’s economy and create more jobs. Combining traditional farming methods with modern techniques will help grow more food and reduce reliance on imports. Embracing agricultural heritage is key to building a secure and prosperous future.

– Salifu Munirat Success
Prince Abubakar Audu University, Anyigba.

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