Ayade canvasses technology-driven agriculture, research to tackle hunger
Cross RIVER State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade has said that for Nigeria to overcome malnourishment, government should sponsor researchers to help improve food system in the country.
He stated this during the National Consolidatory Dialogue at the United Nations Food Summit 2021 in Abuja, adding that the Chinese did the same after the Second World War after discovering that its people experienced stunted growth due to poor quality of food.
Ayade maintained that the 21st century agriculture was driven by technology with focus on knowledge engineering, arguing that small-holder farming, as currently practiced in the country, was obsolete.
He urged the Federal Government to work on policies aimed at improving quality of food also focus on it fortification.
“There is a direct relationship between hunger and anger. When people became hungry, anger sets in, which often finds expression in restiveness and all sorts of crimes. So, food sufficiency is critical, but food quality is twice as critical. All tiers of government have the responsibility to ensure that technology is made available to farmers to help improve our food system.
“In Thailand for instance, it is government’s responsibility to provide irrigation, inputs, extension services and off-takers. The farmer’s responsibility is to tend his crops. We still practice 20th century agriculture system in Nigeria. We must entrench technology-driven agriculture with focus on knowledge engineering,” he said.
Ayade, who identified financing as a major setback to agriculture in the country, argued that it was difficult for sub-nationals to focus on agriculture, considering the poor allocation from the federation account accruing to most states, which struggle to pay salaries.
Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who declared the summit open, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), Amina Mohammed and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Nanono, attended the summit.
Also in attendance were Prof. Kola Amigo of the Ahmadu Bello University, who presented findings from the various UN Food System dialogues in the country, development partners, personalities from the academics, as well as the private and public sectors.
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