By: Ubani Vivian & Eya Uyomi.
Campus Director & Content Curator HULT PRIZE (CRUTECH).
Agriculture is a major drive of the Nigeria economic growth, which makes it a crucial sector in achieving the nation’s vision of attaining food security.
Nigeria is a country richly blessed with abundant natural and human resources that if properly harnesses can feed its people and export the surplus to other countries, yet it still imports food at an unsustainable rate of 11% per annum, for a country which 80% of its population live under $5(2,000) per day.
It is said that a nation that cannot feed itself is simply at the mercy of others, subject to the volatility of global commodity markets. With our abundant natural and human resources, do we wish to be at the mercy of others? NO!, that’s why we need to explore our untapped crops, which in turn will cause an agricultural transformation which will not only feed us but build our economy, thereby reducing the rate of poverty.
Nigeria as it stands is the world’s largest producer of cassava, if this is properly exploited on will substitute for imported wheat flour in bread and confectionaries, saving over $125billion in foreign exchange on wheat imports and instead put this in the pockets of our farmers and local processors.
Also as it stands, we are the second largest producer of citrus in the world, the largest producer of pineapple, mangoes and tomatoes in Africa. But we import orange juice and concentrates from South Africa and tomato paste from Latin America and China. How can that be? How is that helping us as a nation?
Instead it poses a deteriorating impact on us. Imagine if all these are produced in Nigeria, will provide more job opportunities, boost the economy and making food products affordable to all and gradually eradicate food insecurity.
Should we even mention the richness in palm fruit and cocoa plantations? yet oil becomes an untapped goldmine. Why do we import beverages and chocolates when we have rich natural resources e.g cocoa common crops like corn, beans, cotton, melon, water-yam, groundnut, snails, fish, etc. Yet Nigeria and Africa continues to be on the are known as the poverty and hunger map in the world.
If we tap into the potentials of our crops, we will create thousands of employment, lifting a lot of people from poverty, we will be able to feed ourselves and export the surplus to other countries, thereby generating revenue for the country.
However, our agriculture and agribusiness industry is under performing, providing opportunities for foreign investors to benefit from this huge market, milking us and then pay us peanuts which can’t sustain us and our families.
Nigeria is a blessed nation, with a vast landscape for agriculture, if only we can look within, we did realize that food insecurity and poverty shouldn’t even be a topic of discussion in this country.
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