July 11, 2022

Nigeria’s current population stands at 216 million and counting; nearly 8,000 new babies are born every single day. As beautiful and heartwarming as the sound of a new born is, the pertinent question to ask is  whether or not that baby will be malnourished due to food insecurity or adequately fed and nourished due to food abundance and surplus.

It is no longer news that as a nation, we are under producing our basic food staples; rice, beans, maize, soybeans, cassava, oil palm and so on, and that we’re importing the shortfall therefrom. Remember that we are not yet talking about export crops for the money, but food crops for immediate survival. Underproduction of food, and high cost of importation generally pushes the price of food items above the reach of the average individual, and then the tendency is for people to scramble for the little that is available.

Insecurity in Nigeria is at its worse currently. Every part of the country is experiencing one form of it or another, to the extent that the advance motorcade of the president was recently attacked by criminals in his home state. That more people in the food chain are unable to feed themselves naturally breeds food insecurity, and food insecurity is largely responsible for all round insecurity. When people cannot tell where the next meal is coming from, the tendency is to resort to criminality and other forms of delinquencies. It is true that food isn’t the only need of man, but experience shows that man is most insecure when he cannot be assured of his daily bread. It is not in my nature to be alarmist, but if we continue to have food shortages, the spate of insecurity will be on the rise.

The world food program latest hunger hotspots report shows that more than 43 million people in 38 countries are at risk of famine or serious food crisis, unless they receive serious, life saving support. Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen are the countries with the highest levels of hunger. This report is a shameful indictment that we are among the world’s most hungry persons.

So, what do we need to do? We need to plant more! Our food production is dwindling astronomically especially due to insecurity in Northern parts of the country. The number of mouths to feed is on a sharp rise! We must breach that gap or we perish! Other nations of the world earn billions of dollars in exporting food. The price of bread has shot up because of the Ukraine -Russia war. The both countries cumulatively produce nearly a third of the world’s wheat and other grains! We are are not there yet, but we should at least be able to feed ourselves. The time is now! We must do all we can to ensure that we are able to consistently produce food for our teeming population, to avoid further degeneration of our society to the cold hands of insecurity.


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