Former Chairman, Kogi state chapter of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Dr Tunde Arosanyin, has identified insecurity, farmers/herdsmen clashes, poor mechanization and unstable government policies as factors responsible for the high cost of food items.
Arosanyin, in a chat with newsmen on Tuesday said that other variables included poor credit facility to farmers and the negative effect of climate change.
He also blamed the inadequacy of extension services and the high price of agriculture input among others for the high cost of food items.
Arosanyin, who is the National Coordinator, Zero Hunger Commodity Farmers Association, said that even though the country had enormous potentials in the agriculture sub-sector of the economy, it had not been able to harness the benefits.
Many farmers, he said had been displaced and killed in the North East, North West, and North Central by insurgents and bandits.
“Farmers and Nomadic Fulani clashes in the middle belt down South have also resulted to deaths and apathy to farming while climate change has impacted on our food production in the last 15 years negatively from flooding to rain failure and drought.
“Unstable government policies is another critical factor. Sometimes farmers will produce and cannot make a profit due to importation of commodities”, he said.
Arosanyin, however, said that the way to get the country out of this mess was simply if the government would heed to various valuable advice.
“I had given valuable advice to various governments in the past on this issue and I am sure many other professionals did, but the government always found it difficult to implement or even dialogue.
“I remember clearly in October 2015, I sent a blueprint to Mr. President on ‘Agricultural Revolution in Nigeria, a means to Food Security, Unemployment and Foreign Exchange’.
“Copies of this document were also sent to Chairmen of the Senate and House Committees on Agriculture.
“The Senate and House acknowledged the receipt but no news from the Presidency till date”, said the ex-AFAN chief.
He said that ‘total agriculture’ where government creates the enabling environment on production from land preparation to market was the best way to guarantee food sufficiency.
The former AFAN chairman also advocated the provision of incentives for real producers along the agriculture value chain.
Arosanyin urged the Federal Government to revisit the Operation Feed the Nation and Growth Enhancement Scheme (GESS) policies on agriculture under Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan governments respectively to bail out the country from the present food challenges.
He also called for an attitudinal change of Nigerians towards nation-building.