‘Food shortage to get worse if insecurity persists’
A professor of agriculture, Hafiz Abubakar, has warned that food challenges may persist and get complicated in the country if insecurity is not tamed urgently.
He said this at the weekend, warning that food insecurity could create national insecurity or be a consequence of national insecurity.
Abubakar, who is a visiting professor at the National Universities Commission (NUC), spoke while presenting the 10th pre-convocation lecture of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike (MOUAU), Abia State, with the theme: ‘Nigeria of Our Dreams: Managing National Security and Diversification of Nigeria’s Economy through Agriculture.’
He, however, opined that the prevailing insecurity in the country could be managed by adopting agriculture-based economic diversification, lamenting that the weak implementation of the country’s well-articulated plans had endangered low performance of the economy, and thus exacerbating insecurity.
He also expressed the belief that Nigeria’s dream of food security could be actualised with a strong political will to develop and implement policies and strategies for its economic diversification.
“What the Nigerian Government must do to be tracked with its plans to reposition the agricultural sector is to urgently deal with the insecurity that characterises the farming communities.”
He pointed out that imperatively, the development of Nigeria’s economic diversification plan with clear guidance should be the responsibilities of all the stakeholders.
Professor Abubakar specifically urged MOUAU to lead research in the identification, mapping and deepening of agricultural value chain.
He also urged university to empower individuals and organisations to engage women and youths in different aspects of agricultural food value chains, strengthen adult education and agriculture-based entrepreneurship, especially in rural communities.
MEANWHILE, President Muhammadu Buhari has enjoined the country’s universities of agriculture to work more closely with farmers and impart entrepreneurial skills into crop and livestock farmers, and also develop educated farmers with requisite skills to drive agriculture as a business enterprise.
Speaking through the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Muhammad Mahmood Abubakar, at the convocation, the president said the knowledge that abounds in the universities of agriculture must reflect in food production systems.