Food Security And Insecurity: How Has Nigeria Fare so Far?

A hungry man is an angry man. This statement emphasizes why the issue of food security is a burning issue globally. Food shortage affects mostly women and children.

When this vulnerable portion of our population’s existence is threatened, we know that every other facet of our national life will be greatly endangered.

Food security is greatly threatened by insecurity in Nigeria. The question therefore is, will it ever get better?

This post takes a holistic look at the subject of food security; its meaning, importance, food security in the Nigerian context, and the future of food security in Nigeria.

Meaning of Food Security

Food security means different things to different people. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations defined food security as a situation whereby individuals have complete access to food when needed.

In my understanding, food security refers to the availability of enough food for every individual that makes up the population. Also, the scope of food security goes beyond the availability of food.

It also entails access to healthy food anytime an individual needs it. Availability of food at an affordable price for the common man also forms the base for the idea of food security.

Importance of Food Security

  1. Unrestricted Access to Food

Availability of food in abundance ensures the populace has unhindered access to quality food. Every form of security/insecurity depends largely on food security.

  • Good National Health Indices

A properly nourished person is largely protected from diseases and health challenges related to malnutrition. Reduced morbidity and mortality rate points to the good health condition of the population.

A good health index/indices, therefore, spring from the availability of abundant quality food for the populace.

  • Improved Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Access to an abundant supply of food shows that the nation can feed its population and have enough to export to other countries.

Food security, therefore, points to the improved Gross domestic product of a nation. The economy is affected consequently.

  • Reduced Insecurity

At the beginning of this write-up, the opening statement avers the aphorism that a hungry man is an angry man. Half of a man’s problems are solved when his least need (food) is met.

Cases of burglary, theft, and other misdemeanor are offshoots of pervasive hunger. Crime and insecurity are however reduced when the food supply is adequate.

  • Reducing Moral Decadence

Prostitution, gambling, drug abuse among other moral decadence are products of insufficient supply of food.

Young men and women embrace actions considered morally wrong by society due to their inability to have access to the adequate food supply needed for survival.

Immorality now serves as an escape route for them. Society is further entrenched in immorality and the moral fabric of the nation becomes further soiled.

Food Security and Nigeria

From the Boko Haram insurgency, Niger Delta militancy to the Covid-19 pandemic, the issue of food security has returned to the front burner as far as policy issues discussion is concerned.

The government always emphasizes the topic of food security and what could be done to sustain an adequate food supply for the population. In the north, the food hub of the nation, insecurity caused by Boko Haram insurgency, banditry, and herders-farmers clash has greatly reduced the food output of the region.

In the south, the Niger Delta region is polluted by oil spillage. Arable farmers and fishermen are affected by the effect of the oil spillage coupled with the insecurity caused by the militancy in the region. The food output is reduced as a consequence.

Systematic corruption also contributes to food security challenges in Nigeria. Funds allocated for agricultural projects are embezzled. Defaulters are hardly punished. Thus, corruption is perpetuated in the agricultural sector leading to the never-ending problem of food security.

The Future: How it can Become Better

  • Tackling the Menace of Insecurity

The insecurity of farmers’ life has driven many farmers out of the farming business.

Improved food supply is guaranteed when farmers’ life is seen as sacred and worth protecting. People will therefore be encouraged to consider agriculture as a viable means of livelihood.

  • Improving Farming Practices

Mechanized farming is the order of the day in advanced Nations. Farmers should be provided with and taught how to use farming machines in their work.

Training farmers on modern best practices can never be understated. This will improve farm output.

  • Reducing Corruption Rate

Improved security, better farming practices among others will only exist in our imagination without a reduction in the rate of corruption in the system.

Government should set up strong institutional structures to help abate the challenge of corruption in the agricultural sector.

Reduced corrupt practices mean increased agricultural output. This also means improved metrics for food security.

  • Improving Infrastructural Amenities

The bad road makes it hard for northern farmers to get their perishable crops down south in time. Bad storage facilities cause spoilage and wastage of a large amount of farm produce.

Lack of farming machinery has also reduced farming output as farmers rely on manual labour. Improved infrastructure will ensure that more food is produced, processed, and stores for future use.

Conclusion

Although food security is threatened by insecurity and other relative factors, the future can always be better.

When the government and all stakeholders synergize to tackle the problem of insecurity, then the problem of food security will be reduced, the agricultural sector will be positively affected and the future of food security in Nigeria will be safeguarded

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