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Stakeholders renew calls for backyard farming

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There is a renewed call for all Nigerians to embrace the practice of backyard farming, described as the best way to reduce poverty, improve the country’s food security and means of creating wealth and job security in homes.

Also known as family farming in other climes, backyard farming refers to a mini or micro landscape farm, usually within a person’s neighborhood or backyard just for personal consumption. It can either be crop or livestock farm, with the main objective of producing food crops and rearing of animals for family/personal consumption.

According to findings, rising food prices are pushing more people into poverty, increasing their vulnerability to insecurity and malnutrition, hence the need to adopt this system of farming, as a best bet to alleviate food insecurity and poverty through the boosting of local and household food production.

Some of the benefits include: assurance of good nutrient value compared to food crops purchased from the market, as homegrown food has higher nutrient value and superior flavour; it saves cost, as money can be diverted to other things; it also assures good health, as it gives opportunity to keep an eye on most of the things consumed, free from toxins and other harmful pesticides and chemicals, which are harmful to the body.

Founder of Menitos Farm Depot, Toluwalope Daramola, said the call is long overdue but there is no precise action to educate the people on how to go about it. “A lot of people have heard, but all they see is obstacles, concrete floors, uninformed children destroying flowers, then the one who tries to do poultry or rear livestock turns them to street menace and we might end up with more civil cases if not done right.

“The benefit if we get it right are numerous. It will definitely make naturally grown food more accessible as backyard farms hardly bother with meds and synthetic boosters. I have a home farm right here in Lagos. My fence has snake tomatoes, and I grow my bitter leaf, scent leaf, ewedu and plantain. I also raise my own poultry and I am not a landlord, before you assume that’s why I am free.

“One of the things we do at Menitos is to mentor you to utilise the space you have no matter how little, to grow something. People need to be educated on space management. Urban Farming is the in-thing. Some countries don’t have space and they grow food on roof tops. The government gives incentives to homeowners and it has become a norm. If we set realistic standards and put in the right incentives, even Lagos could feed itself.”

Daramola said adoption of backyard farming would make organic foods readily available. “With urban farming, you are within the consumers’ locale and that difference could help you achieve lowered cost, at least, for some produce.”

An agriculturist, who is the former Chairman Agric, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Prince Wale Oyekoya, an advocate of backyard farming for the past 10 years, who has also trained people on it, said with the situation in the country, family farming is the way out.

“Government’s inconsistent policies have rendered the agric sector comatose and since they failed to mechanise our farming system. With population increase of over 200 million, family farming is the only way out, if not the best until the governments can get their acts together.

“It will reduce poverty and improve food security. It will create wealth and job security for families. If the three tiers of government tap into it, it will increase their revenue generation. Government can even improve on the value-chain of the sector by buying the farm produce from the farmers and supply the processors for value addition.”

He said residents of Lagos can practice family farming in their houses, with the planting of tomatoes, pepper, okra, maize and other vegetables. “Tyres can be used in a concrete floor to breed snails. Balconies can be used for pot farming with the aid of direct sunlight and watering. Citizens should stop using concrete or interlocks for their floors, but leave some space for family farming.”


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